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#406452 - 04/28/11 08:21 PM Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility
Marty Offline
Child died at childbirth due to no emergency air transportation on Ambergris Caye

A woman who experienced complication at childbirth lost her child after there was no available air transportation for her. Jorge Aldana has the story in the following report.

Jorge Aldana – San Pedro Correspondent
A young family on Ambergris Caye is devastated after their unborn child died because of the lack of proper health facilities. The pregnant mother was rushed to the San Pedro Poli Clinic sometime before midnight on Wednesday after she began experiencing complications. A doctor was located who examined the mother and recommended that an urgent C-section be performed in an attempt to save the unborn child.

Because the government operated Poli-Clinic and the island do not have an approved surgical and child birth facility to handle such emergencies, the only other option was to air lift the distressed mother to Belize City. During the night, finding medical assistance can be very stressful and in a case of emergency, a minute can save a life and that is what apparently occurred last night.

A member of the family, who chooses to remain anonymous, explained that there was no available air ambulance to transport their family member to Belize City. It took almost three hours before the family chartered a plane from one of the local airlines in the wee hours of Thursday and carried the mother to the International Airport and then to Belize City. By the time the mother arrived at the KHMH, the child was stillborn.

In the past, the only quick emergency option to airlift patients from San Pedro Ambergris Caye was via BATSUB; those services were discontinued last year in July of 2010. But in an interview with Love News on the 18th of August 2010, Area Representative Hon Manuel Heredia said that “as the matter is of extreme importance, I will be following up with the relative authorities to come up with a plan.” Heredia told Love News in the said interview that the matter would be taken to Cabinet on Tuesday August 24th 2010, but until now, islanders are yet to be informed what the emergency plan is.

San Pedro being a municipality that generates much revenue in taxes and a population of 22,000 people on the island at any given time, the recent incident highlights the urgent and desperate need of having a proper health facility on the island, something islanders have been clamoring for years from both administrations.

This news reported is sponsored by Grand Belizeans Estate Limited.

Reporting for Love News from San Pedro Town, I am Jorge Aldana.

#406488 - 04/29/11 09:57 AM Re: Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Lack of proper medical facilities on AC causes loss of baby’s life

The death of an unborn child early Thursday morning (April 28, 2011) has left a young Ambergris Caye family devastated. It is believed that this most unfortunate incident is as the direct result of the lack of proper health facilities on Ambergris Caye.

The pregnant mother was rushed to the San Pedro PolyClinic II (SPPC) sometime before midnight on Wednesday (April 27th) after she began experiencing complications with her pregnancy. After initial examination by the doctor on call, it was recommended that the mother needed to undergo an urgent C-Section in an attempt to save the unborn child.

The SPPC currently does not house a proper operating facility. As a result it was necessary for the mother to be airlifted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). Presently, the only available emergency air transportation service available to the SPPC is BERT- Belize Emergency Response Team; however this service is only offered during the daytime hours, with the cut-off time at 5pm.

A family member who chose to remain anonymous explained that it took almost three hours before the family was able to obtain the chartered service of an airplane from one of the local airlines, which transported the mother to the International Airport and then to Belize City.

By the time the mother got to KHMH, there was not much that could be done to save the unborn child. The mother lost her child shortly after arriving at the KHMH. The question remains, for a community of over 20,000 permanent residents, why is it that we are not equipped with the facilities needed to deal with such emergencies like this one?

Access to airstrip via Tropic Air Hangar is closed

A correspondence containing the following message was received by representatives from the San Pedro Poly Clinic II (SPPC) a couple of weeks ago: "Due to theft and vehicular damage to our aircraft we are forced to close and lock the gate by the Tropic hangar to the airport in San Pedro. Effective immediately no one will be allowed access through our gate to the airport."

In the past, that access - a gate immediately across from the SPPC that led to the airstrip - has been used for emergency access to a waiting aircraft. SPPC Administrator Owen Vellos tells The Sun, "It was very convenient. We would take the patients on stretchers or on the mobile beds and wheel them from our emergency exit directly over to the airplane, which would be situated on the runway immediately in front of the hangar". He further explained, "More than just a convenience, this access was essential as it saved time and in grave emergencies a couple of minutes could be the difference between life and death for the patient."

The San Pedro Sun contacted Mr. John Grief III of Tropic Air to get Tropic's side of the story. "There never was a privilege for the Poly Clinic to use that gate. They never asked and we never granted them permission. They just did it and being San Pedranos, we were willing to help. The problem is that we've had young people who have no reason driving vehicles, driving through there at all hours of the night or day and one of them hit one of our aircrafts. So, we had a vehicle running into a $4 million aircraft and damaging it. That's private property, it's not government property. So, we closed off our property, it's as simple as that," Mr. Grief informed The Sun.

Mr. Grief went on to explain that there are other options for emergency access to the runway, including the entrance at the northern end of the airstrip between the Tropic Air and Maya Island Air terminals. He reiterated that it was unfortunate that they had to take this action in an effort to protect their assets.

San Pedro Sun

#406496 - 04/29/11 10:11 AM Re: Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility [Re: Marty]
Mike Campbell Offline
It would seem that Tropic would be doing the community a big service by coming up with a solution that would allow for emergency medical evacuations. Tropic is one of many businesses that owes its existence to the patronage of the people of San Pedro.
I am appalled that this long after after the BATSUB pull out the GOB has done nothing. I would think it a good idea if private sector worked out a plan whereby aircraft could be activated in a reasonable time for missions of mercy. I thought such a plan was in place.
The news story says there was a three hour wait for an aircraft, I would appreciate more information as to whether or not it is true and if true what broke down in our system. My son may have possibly died at birth if we were not able to get to the hospital quickly. Our airline companies play a vital role in our communities.
Unfortunately health care has never been regarded as a priority issue here, except by the people.

#406499 - 04/29/11 11:00 AM Re: Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility [Re: Marty]
"Tropic is one of many businesses that owes its existence to the patronage of the people of San Pedro." Political blather and grandstanding. Replace "people" with "tourists". And even if it were 50% true, what do they "owe" the community? They are a business not a philanthropy.
And then describe how you would expect Tropic to help? Because this statement:
"It would seem that Tropic would be doing the community a big service by coming up with a solution that would allow for emergency medical evacuations." is so ludicrous.
If you want to lead yet know nothing of the issue, find someone with the knowledge to propose solutions. Tropics makes schedules and flies planes. What gives them the background to understand all of the issues associated with medical evacuations? It is absolutely not Tropic's responsibility!
Should they retrofit one (or more) of their airplanes to handle stretchers? Should they hire extra pilots to be on standby 24/7? What is an acceptable response time? 5 minutes? 15 minutes? What about ground crew/engineers? Should they also provide the accompanying paramedic, nurse, or doctor too? And just to close (because there are far more questions): Who is going to pay?
Now, if you want to be a leader why don't you engage a few interested citizens to form a committee to investigate the issue and develop some proposals for the pubic and private sector to consider. That's smart politics.

Edited by C2C (04/29/11 11:02 AM)

#406501 - 04/29/11 11:15 AM Re: Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility [Re: ]
SnoopysMom Offline
This is yet another very sad reminder of the limited access to medical care on the Island. Can we look at best practices from other Islands with similar population? Is it feasible to provide more complex care on AC verses transport?

I have to agree with C2C relative to Tropic's responsibilities. Why isn't Maya part of the equation? Both airlines should both be considered stakeholders, however, and should be at the discussions table.

#406504 - 04/29/11 11:27 AM Re: Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility [Re: SnoopysMom]
t42 Offline
What ever happend to Wings of Hope didn't they offer medical evacutation within Belize?

#406505 - 04/29/11 11:30 AM Re: Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility [Re: Mike Campbell]
cracked up Offline
This is a tragic and sad, but:

There is a plan in place, and it has been used many times.

Tropic Air does night medivacs. In this case, the acft was dispatched as soon as Tropic was contacted.

The contact numbers have been published many times, all medical persons in SPR have these contact numbers.

Mentioning anything about the gate is nonsense! In case of a medivac/emergency, Tropic personnel will be there to assist.

The reporter also fails to mention that there was no attending Dr. at KRMH till the morning.

Emergency/trama medical care is not just a SPR issue, it is a nation wide issue.

#406508 - 04/29/11 11:55 AM Re: Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
We had been 'spoiled' by the British Forces presence here for years and they kindly offered helicopter services for medical airlifts, day and night, usually free of charge or for a nominal fee of about US$600.00 when I needed an airlift, say 15 or so yrs ago. This service no longer exits and was stopped months ago. San Pedro, Intl and Placencia have lights for landing at night, but Placencia's lights have not been installed. Otherwise, everyone has to depend on commercial airline or helicopter, all privately owned and will require payment. Wings of Hope is here and also available for emergency airlifts. Should you require a helicopter airlift at night in an area without lights, best to create an HLS (helicopter landing site) with vehicle (or golf cart) headlights in a circle or other to illuminate the HLS. And most important, make sure there is a doc ready with the patients stats at the medical facility by calling ahead.

Edited by Katie Valk (04/29/11 11:58 AM)
Belize based travel specialist

#406523 - 04/29/11 02:17 PM Re: Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility [Re: ]
Mike Campbell Offline
Sorry if you thought I was blaming Tropic in any way. I would like to know what happened. All the issues with stretchers etc are very valid. I am hoping a plan can be worked out. I thought we had one. So far no one wants to address any of this. What did happen? I thought we were just talking about giving access.

#406527 - 04/29/11 02:39 PM Re: Child dead at childbirth: lack of Health Facility [Re: Marty]
deepseadetective Offline
"What does tropic air owe the

We live on a small island we help our neighbors. Thats how it allways been done.

You cannot be a responcible business, making money off the comunity and ignore the comunity when it needs you.

you my friend,..... are full of shit

Edited by deepseadetective (04/29/11 02:45 PM)

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