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#464940 - 05/22/13 11:05 AM KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies
Marty Offline

Families Wrestle with Grief, Rage

A dozen dead babies in less than 3 weeks – that’s what the KHMH, Belize’s National Referral Hospital, is contending with tonight, and the public uproar is enormous – as it should be, because the loss of life is, honestly, unimaginable.

As we reported last night, the culprit is believed to have been a bacterial infection, that descended on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit like a plague. The babies in that unit are typically the sickest, most vulnerable patients in the hospital, most of them are premature – and all of them were seriously ill, meaning they can hardly breathe on their own, much less fight an infection.

And that’s what created the conditions for a devastating and rapid loss of a dozen newborns. And while the KHMH investigates what went wrong, the families are getting ready for funerals or trying to recover from them. We spoke to two grieving parents today.

Jules Vasquez reporting
Harrison Sutherland - Father of 8 day old baby died at KHMH
"I'm just sad for my baby, really sad because so much babies have died just like that, it's sad."

Harrison Sutherland and Kelcey Young are an 18 year old couple. Their baby Imari was born premature at 7 months on Mother’s day but died 8 days later.

Harrison Sutherland
"Well in a way I'm angry yes because I blame the hospital for it."

This 16 year old mother feels the same:

Voice Of: 16 year old Mother Of Deceased Premature Newborn
"They killed my baby that I have to say that they killed my baby."

Her baby boy, Jordan was the last to die on the 20th, when he was just 15 days old.

Voice Of: 16 year old Mother Of Deceased Premature Newborn
"The first time the baby came in the Intensive Care the doctor told me that the only reason that the baby is in there is because he was premature and his lungs needed to develop and they would keep him in there for the full nine months. Now they called us two days after and they called in the morning again and told us the baby turned blue. My mom, sister and I came in and when I saw the baby all his face was purple and his feet were blue and everything was blue. The last time I could have seen my baby alive the doctor told me that my baby was getting better and the only thing happened was that the medicine was fighting the bacteria inside. When I reached home they called me and told me the baby passed away. My baby was going to live because he was one pound 8 ounces when he was born and within two weeks my baby gained 3lb and 14 ounces and he was only on feed, he wasn't on any antibiotic. Within this week they started telling me about my baby that it turned out that he had sepsis, I don't know what sepsis is because that is what they are telling all the parents that they have a bad infection."

Now they have nothing nice to say about the hospital.

Voice Of: 16 year old Mother Of Deceased Premature Newborn
"And the nurses that are in there are careless, I mean so careless. When I come in sometimes after 6 and I come in to check on my baby, they have some of them on their cell phones, computer and gossiping and talking about each other."

For this father, he knew the end was near:

Harrison Sutherland
"I think I blame I will blame the hospital - the ICU because they knew the ICU had an infection so they should have moved the baby from a long time ago but they waited until all the babies died then they took out the last three everytime I go there they tell me that another baby has died. That really is puzzling to hear that because I think this place should be better than that because it's all the young babies, they should have had that place well secure - wash their hands properly but sometimes I even see people from the morgue go into the ICU with there regular clothes. They would go into the ICU to take gowns, that isn't right."

Voice Of: 16 year old Mother Of Deceased Premature Newborn
"From the first baby died they should have checked the place and tell the parents what was happening. The nurses and the doctors didn't even come to tell us that the place was infected we had to hear it from other parents - they didn't tell us anything."

That lack of urgency in addressing the problem also sticks in the throat of the Chairman of the KHMH Board who learned about the deaths yesterday. She called in the KREM’s WUB this morning:

PHONE INTERVIEW with KREM
Evan 'Mose' Hyde
"This was something that should have sent off an alarm bells before it reached a death count of 12."

Chandra Cansino - CHAIRMAN KHMH Board of Directors
"Unfortunately Mose - yes. Those are the answers we are trying to seek. Why was this information not forth coming before we reached this number? The answer to your question is yes; I am trying to compose yourself. Yes I am very disturbed of the fact that we only found out about this yesterday."

And while the administration looks for answers, the lives of these young parents have been shattered:

Voice Of: 16 year old Mother Of Deceased Premature Newborn
"I had big dreams that I wanted to acheieve with my baby and they just came and shattered it."

Harrison Sutherland
"Everyday I get up and I try to do something but it just hurts me because I have to remember it. It's my first baby and we had to bury the baby, it hurts - I cried."

PHONE INTERVIEW with KREM
Chandra Cansino
"I just wanted the general public to know that the board is just as mortified by the numbers as the general public is. There's nothing I can say that can change the reality for the moms and the families of these babies but we just want the general public to know that we are addressing the problem as an emergency."

Harrison Sutherland
"We just want to talk about it and something to come out of it, we want all the parents to come together and talk about it and have something come out of it because it isn't right for babies to just die and nothing comes out of it."

There are no pictures of Baby Imari because on Monday, someone broke into their relatives’ Belize City home off Faber’s Road and stole the IPAD, with the only pictures of the child.

But, back to the KHMH. First, a team has been doing a rapid investigation all of today. The findings of that – however preliminary - will be presented to the KHMH Board at an emergency meeting tomorrow. The critical determination will be whether it was a failure of reporting, or a failure to respond appropriately.

The Ministry of Health has sent in the Director of Maternal and Child Health, the National Epidemiologist and an Infection Control Expert. Additionally, PAHO, the Pan American Health Organization has offered technical support.

The Opposition PUP also issued a statement today calling for the quote, “immediate resignation of the Minister of Health and of the Board of Directors of the hospital.”

The release adds that quote, “The fact that any bacterial or other infection could have been allowed to take so many lives before any response was made, demonstrates that there must have been gross negligence by the hospital authorities.”

Channel 7


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#465019 - 05/23/13 06:49 AM Re: KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies [Re: Marty]
Cooper Offline
This is so sad..God Bless those young lives. Parents and family. I have seen patients in distress at the hospital and nurses were not able to help even in simple transferring from floor to wheel chair I had to do it,
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#465020 - 05/23/13 06:57 AM Re: KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies [Re: Marty]
Cooper Offline
Then again, though sad, is there anyway from preventing children from having children.....
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#465028 - 05/23/13 11:17 AM Re: KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Enterobacter cloacae killed 7 of 12 infants at K.H.M.H.

The biggest scandal to hit the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is unraveling. Words cannot describe how the collective conscience of parents, particularly mothers, received the news that twelve newborns died in less than one week at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Alarm bells were sounded last Friday by grieving parent who spoke to News Five about the death of his innocent twenty-seven day old baby. Two other parents gave gripping testimony on Monday of the deaths of their premature babies…and even more reports are coming from other parents with similar experiences. On Monday, the K.H.M.H. reported that twelve babies had died in the first twenty days of May. The killer of seven of these infants is called enterobacter cloacae. After a meeting with three of the mothers who lost their babies to the bacteria, the Chair of the K.H.M.H. Board of Governors, Chandra Cansino, joined by the hospital’s C.E.O., Francis Gary Longsworth, and Director of Medical Services, Adrian Coye for a media briefing. Would the bacteria wreak havoc in the other units of the hospitals were amongst the first questions asked of Doctor Coye.

Dr. Adrian Coye, Director of Medical Services, K.H.M.H.

Adrian Coye

“We have seen an outbreak of a particular organism, enterobacter cloacae and this organism is not only selecting our Belizean babies, but it is an organism that is responsible for major outbreaks in NICU’s all over the world. In that light, this is part of why we see that even PAHO Washington is sending us assistance; to see and help us analyze the outbreak that we have because it is matching a global trend. We had initially released there were twelve deaths this month which is unusual because the month is not yet done. And twelve deaths that happened were the majority were happening precipitously in the last week. And so this form of outbreak raised alarm bells; adjustments were being made clinically and within the unit, some procedural changes. But in spite of that, we had the high number of tragic loss as alarming as it is and as unfortunate for all because it is very sad for us to see and witness that amount of loss. However of the twelve deaths, only seven have been shown in our analysis to be positive for this organism out of the twelve. So in fact, the initial impression was that all of them had this organism but in fact only seven of them. And so the other deaths happened as a result of prematurity-related issues and not related to this infection. This is not a superbug. The profile of the resistance pattern within the organism we have found is sensitive to antibiotics that we do have in the hospital and made available through the Ministry of Health. So it is not a superbug. But the problem with this type of organism is it’s very fastidious, difficult to clear and there is transmission by direct contact and also by indirect contact. So it can be on the skin of any of us right now in this room, on your clothing material, on stethoscopes, on IV drip stands, the surfaces in the clinical area, etc. And that is again to show you how ubiquitous; all over the place the bugs can be a source. We are implementing an aggressive approach to determining if there is actually an environmental source. So we’ve actually brought in a specialist for the purpose of studying all aspects of our ventilation and all other areas within the unit that can be a source for continued colonization because that is exactly what this organism behaves as—it is an opportunistic infection.”


Neonatal Unit closed for a month while upgrades being installed

Doctor Coye said that the bug could have come from another section of the hospital or from an incoming patient. There were questions regarding whether or not air condition problems in clinics one through four were a part of the problem, but he said it was not. Inside the special care nursery, terminal cleanings were carried out three weeks ago. Now, the K.H.M.H. has specialized areas that are Hepa-filtered, a specialized air filtering system and the water is tested every month for bacteria. So there are factors in place to keep the hospital sterile. But that didn’t help within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The hospital says it has to carry out specific procedures to find out what is causing the deaths and that includes lab tests. The question was also asked if someone had flagged that the twelve infants had died in twenty days?

Dr. Adrian Coye, Director of Medical Services, K.H.M.H.

“It can be anywhere, but the susceptible population is the premature babies who are in the intensive care unit as they are. Whether it was brought from other parts of the hospital, I cannot say, but I know from an epidemiological point of view, when you look for an outbreak, you try to identify an index case. An index case was identified in February; the first infection of this nature. However, that baby was treated and went home. It could be then from that original infection, colonization had happened and that’s how when you talk about how things could spread and so that may be one source. But like you rightly suggest, there may be an environmental aspect to it. This number of twelve is unusually high for us. We are more used to seeing rates of five or six neonatal deaths per month. So this rate of twelve and as we’ve explained, it was in a very short period of time that it went above what we recognized as a baseline because we receive babies from everywhere in this country—all the way down south, P.G. and from private hospitals as well that have operated on them and send them here for ventilation and those babies go home alive. But other babies have come to us very septic and in a position where we cannot recover them.”

Jose Sanchez

Adrian Coye

“When the infant dies of sepsis, is it normal procedure then to have that body tested for a particular bacteria?”

Dr. Adrian Coye

“Well that is a very good question because you don’t want to diagnosing when they have died; you want to be able to know. And so from when the baby is not well, we will be sending samples. However, if that opportunity didn’t happen for whatever reason and sepsis is something that we have been very sensitized to. In CMEs we have done here, Dr. Grinage has presented a global picture on continuous medical education. And so we have been talking about pediatric sepsis and all of these things already. It is not that there is not the awareness but yes, for some babies that died from sepsis, we don’t know why they die, we take samples to confirm and that is how we confirmed some of the cases as having this same organism. Adjustments were being made when recognition that some septic events were happening. We do have a log when we were able to confirm. And the log is confirmed positive cultures because we rely on the central pathology services by sending specimens there for them to incubate it over two three days, analyze it and then do testing of the bug or the organism that they grow to see what antibiotics they are sensitive too. And so that is a process. But then what do you do in the meantime? You adjust.”

Chandra Nisbet-Cansino

Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, Chairlady, Board of Governors, K.H.M.H.

“The definitive information that we got today were the epidemiological reports and the reports from the infection control. We still have a lot of information that we are gathering regarding that specific question that Jose and Miss Amaya are asking. What was the process of communication? That is important to us. We do not have that answer today, but we are definitely working on getting hat answer because we know that that is one of the biggest questions that the public has. And we feel an obligation to answer the public on that question.”


K.H.M.H. Board wants answers as to why alarm not sounded quickly

Francis Gary Longsworth

Today, the Board of Governors held an emergency session to find out what happened. And the initial results were shared with the media. But there is still the question of safety and when the NICU will be reopened. According to K.H.M.H. C.E.O., Francis Gary Longsworth that may take some weeks while improvements are being made. But the Board Chairlady says there are other reports that the board is awaiting to see if anyone is to be held culpable for not sounding the alarm.

Francis Gary Longsworth, C.E.O., K.H.M.H.

“Well we want to do some major reorganization and renovations to it. And one of the goals is to expand the clinical area in the NICU immediately…if we can. We anticipate a period of about within a month, hopefully less than that; a matter of two weeks would be appropriate for that to happen. Generally we see between four hundred and fifty to five hundred and fifty patients per year in the NICU. Our annual mortality rate for that unit vary between five percent to fifteen percent with the median being around ten percent. So that’s what we are looking at in terms of survival. We are looking at between eighty-five to ninety-five percent survival rates.”

Chandra Nisbet-Cansino

Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, Chairlady, Board of Governors, K.H.M.H.

“This press conference is basically to update to you on the epidemiological findings, the preliminary findings that they did yesterday and they presented to us this morning. We still have a process ongoing and we need to get reports from the pediatricians from the ward, from the nurses, from the head of that department to determine if there were any weaknesses in raising alarms and raising flags. We are still in the process of gathering that information and as soon as we have that information available then we will be passing it on. But that information has not been finalized yet. My first instinct was to come here and find the person that is to blame and deal with that person. There are so many more technical issues to that. We got an explanation of the system of the culture; the blood cultures take a week. That is not something that is a deficiency of the lab. A blood culture takes five days to grow and there is no way around that and there is no other way of determining the sensitivity of an organism except by doing a blood culture. And while you are waiting five days for a blood culture result, babies were passing away. And that little cluster of time is where we lost some of the babies without knowing that it was because of this particular bacteria.”


Doctor speaks about infection at K.H.M.H.

Marco Tulio Mendez

As parents grieve the painful deaths of their loved ones, the public is outraged that the growing number of deaths could have gone unnoticed at the national referral hospital. This afternoon, COLA issued a very strong statement on the neonatal deaths, while the office of the Special Envoy, Kim Simplis Barrow said that it will be spearheading the construction of a suitable Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Unit at the K.H.M.H.  But the lingering question is who should be held responsible for the death of the babies? This afternoon, Pediatrician Doctor Marco-Tulio Mendez who has been flagging hospital malpractices up north called out the Minister of Health, Pablo Marin, asking for his resignation.

Via Phone: Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, Pediatrician

“I’m pretty sure that the ministry of health knew about it and if they knew about it, they are the ones that are supposed to be held accountable; they are the ones that supposed to be guiding and establishing and implementing the guidelines for the hospital. I mean the Karl Heusner Hospital is our referral hospital, it is the flagship of our entire health system and it should be well protected and all the measures to decrease this type of nosocomial infections supposed to be done. Now, there is something that is very important is that this problem is a complex problem. It is not solely at the hospital level.  It is a very repulsive situation that has occurred and the Minister of Health…to me the Minister of Health needs to resign. Not only this problem we have been facing, but also the problem up here in the north; at the northern regional hospital. They said that they would do an investigation. Up to now we don’t know what went on. They didn’t went in depth of the problem that our pregnant mothers and women went through just about six month ago. I am pretty sure that I do not know if this investigation will help.”

Dr. Mendez also says that the number of premature babies has increased in the past four years.

Channel 5


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#465046 - 05/23/13 12:17 PM Re: KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

KHMH Isolates Bacteria Bug That Caused Baby's Deaths

The KHMH Board of governors met in an emergency session this morning at the hospitals to get some answers on the death of a dozen babies at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in just three weeks. The bulk of the information they got was form a rapid response team sent to investigate what went wrong and isolate the bacteria that killed the newborns. Tonight the news is that they know the name of the bacterial bug. That was announced at a meeting held two hours ago when the meeting finished. We’ll have that shortly, but first, it was news to us that the CEO of the Hospital found out about the deaths in his own facility, on the news!:…

Dr. F. Gary Longsworth - CEO, KHMH
"Over a very short period of time beginning last week we had a cluster of deaths in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and it went out to the media. One of the parents went to the media, I believe, that actually prompted the investigation because up to that point we were not aware that the situation was developing."

Dr. Adrian Coye - Medical Chief Of Staff, KHMH
"We have seen an outbreak of a particular organism it's called enterobacter cloacae and this organism is not only selecting our Belizean babies but it's an organism that is responsible for major outbreaks in ICU's all over the world. Now we issued a release that there were 12 deaths this month which was unusual because the month is not yet done and 12 deaths that happened where the majority were happening precipitously in the last week and so this form of outbreak does raise alarm bells, adjustments are being made clinically and within the unit, some procedural changes. In despite of that we had the high number of tragic loss. However of the twelve deaths only seven has been shown in our analysis to be positive for this organism. The other deaths happened as a result of prematurity related issues and not related to this infection. This is not a super bug - the profile of the resistance pattern within the organism that we have found is sensitive to antibiotics that we do have in the hospital and made available through the Ministry of Health so it is not a super bug. The problem with this kind of organism it it's very fastidious, difficult to care and there is transmission by direct contact and also indirect contact. This is an opportunistic infection that can be anywhere. The susceptible population is the premature and babies who are in the intensive care unit as they are. Whether is was brought by different parts of the hospital, I cannot say but I know from an epidemiological point of view when you look for an outbreak you try to identify an index case and an index case was identified in February, the first infection of that nature - however that baby was treated and went home. It could be then that from that original infection, colonization had happened and that's how you talk about how things are spread that may be one source."

Dr. F. Gary Longsworth
"Generally we see between 450 to 550 patients per year in our NICU. Our annual mortality rate for that unit vary between 5% - 15% with the median being around 10%. That is what we're looking at in terms of survival rates. We're looking at between 85% to 95% survival rates."

Dr. Adrian Coye
"This number of 12 is unusually high for us. We are more used to seeing rates of 5 or 6 neonatal deaths per month. This rate of 12 and as we've explained it was in a very short period of time that it went above what we recognize as a baseline."

Jules Vasquez
"Is it a failure in reporting and responding in your opinion?"

Dr. F. Gary Longsworth
"I wouldn't refer to it as a failure. As Dr. Coye tried to explain earlier what the time log that is unavoidable between culturing a baby that is getting sick and receiving the report is out of the control of the physicians managing the case."

Chandra Nisbet Cansino - Chairman, KHMH Board Of Governors
"Because my first instinct was to come here and to find the person that was to blame and deal with that person - there are so many more technical issues to that, we got an explanation to the system of the blood culture that takes a week. That is not something that is a deficiency of the lab, a blood culture takes five days to grow and there's no way around that and there was no other way of determining the sensitivity of an organism except by doing a blood culture. While you're waiting five days for a blood culture - babies were passing away. That little cluster of time was where we lost some of the babies without knowing because it was because of this particular bacteria. The second purpose of our meetings is still to have a discussion with staff, we still have not gotten a lot of reports to determine if anybody is culpable, we have not established that at this time and that is a process that is still under investigation. The most important purpose for us being here today was for us to sit-down and have a discussion with some of the parents of the deceased children. Unfortunately they went to the media before coming to us - that is totally understandable, we have no problem with that but we needed to hear from them about their experiences. They shared a lot of information with us - they had suggestions and recommendations for us. We haven't met all of them and we're hoping to meet with all of them but that was basically the most important part of the day for me because we really needed to hear from them."

Reporter
"Accusations being made that there were two deaths in two days would have caused that the NICU be closed."

Chandra Nisbet Cansino
"What was the process of communication? That is important to us - we do not have that answer today but we are definitely working on that answer because we kow that one of the biggest questions the public has and we have an obligation to answer on that."

Reporter
"At this point is the infection under control?"

Chandra Nisbet Cansino
"Yes"

Dr. Adrian Coye
"The answer is yes but there is always a risk. As I said we are always under threat and in this particular case we believe we have it under control. We are making plans and changes that allow us to safely take care of our Belizean babies in the near future."

It is important to note that while the media has been alerted about newborn deaths from infection dating back to December of last year, the administration says those were likely unrelated. The pediatric intensive care unit was built 16 years ago and has a capacity for ten newborns; in May, as in many months prior, it was operating well above that capacity.

A release from the office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children stresses that it is spearheading the construction of a Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Unit – which will be in a new wing at the KHMH.

Channel 7


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#465065 - 05/23/13 04:30 PM Re: KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies [Re: Cooper]
Wizardofaahs Offline
Originally Posted By: Cooper
Then again, though sad, is there anyway from preventing children from having children.....

Education - Required through college level. The mandatory age is 13 - leading to the mindset that kids are adults if not in school.

Dreams/Hopes/Opportunities - Give them something to strive for; the possibility to do something other than what is the norm. Babies with babies on their hip. Create the possibility. (And in something other than tourism)
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#465112 - 05/24/13 11:00 AM Re: KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Former KHMH CEO Criticizes Successor

Last night, you heard the CEO of the KHMH say that he found out about the rash of newborn deaths in the Pediatric Intensive care Unit from watching the news. And that’s why an internal investigation is underway to find out what went wrong that could have caused so many successive deaths without a decisive response. But, according to the former CEO, his successor’s explanation just won’t cut it. Dr. Alvaro Rosado says that the shutdown of the unit came way too late, and to find out what went wrong, the hospital needs much more than just an internal investigation.

Dr. Alvaro Rosado - Former CEO, KHMH
"Well first of all I must state that the media had approached me before asking me for comments and I had refused because I said it was unfair to the administration for me to comment before they did their investigation. Now that the investigation has started although with all fairness to the Chairlady she said that it would continue. I get the impression that this is the beginning of the end and that this is almost the begin of the end of the investigation and it bothers me because I don't think that the answers and the information that was given was really information that is pertinent. I think the first thing that needs to be answered is - How did the bug get into that Neonatal unit? NICU is supposed to be most secure, sterile area of the hospital. It's cleaned twice a day, should be cleaned, swabbed, they take cultures regularly so how did that germ/bug get into the hospital. It can be traced there is no big secret about how these things happen. The second and the most disturbing to me is to hear the CEO and the Chairlady say that they were not aware of the situation until they heard it on the media. It's unbelievable that you have the bosses at a hospital not aware of what is happening in there for three weeks.

In 2004, specifically, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was the pride and joy of KHMH - that was our show case, when anybody came from abroad that's where we went. In the region it was considered the best Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, people marveled at how the doctors and nurses there were able to keep 90% of Neonates alive - that's a very high percentage. It's not a question iof is there the medical knowledge or expertise - it's not a question if there is a nursing expertise, the nursing staff and medical staff of KHMH are the highest trained medical personnel in this country. There's no shortage of medical knowledge and expertise - there was a breakdown somewhere and I think what needs to be done is for an investigation to be carried out to find out how it happened and why it happened so it doesn't happen again."

Rosado says that the hospital should not focus on who is to blame, but on what went wrong because the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will need to be reactivated. He also believes that energy expended on damage control due to the legal issues which may arise is wasted at this critical time.

We should note that the babies who were in the unit when it was shut down have been relocated to what is described as a safe place within the hospital.

Channel 7


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#465225 - 05/26/13 10:57 AM Re: KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
From Alvaro:


I tried to send a report on the transformation of KHMH from "Kill Him - Murder Her" to "The People's Hospital". This report was prepared at the request of CARICOM to highlight what the CARICOM secretariat considered as one example of successful public sector reform. The report was available at the GOB website until recently but foe some reason I cannot access it now - the site was

www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz/case_study_khmh.pdf

Maybe you might be able to access the report - a bit lengthy but very reader friendly. I tried to send it as an attachment and in the body of an mail but the list rejected both attempts. Below are pertinent 2 excerpts.

OVERVIEW
THE TRANSFORMATION OF KARL HEUSNER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
This paper will attempt to chronicle the largely untold story of arguably the best example of a successful reform initiative in the larger Public Service Modernization efforts of Belize. It is the story of the transformation of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), derogatorily referred to in the past as the “Kill Him Murder Her” hospital, into the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority (KHMHA), now regularly referred to as “The People’s Hospital”.
What is now the KHMHA evolved from the “Old Belize City Hospital” that was founded circa 1820. The Belize City Hospital was founded to provide medical services for sick and indigent seamen involved in shipping. In 1871 it was converted into a general hospital and in 1890 was able to accommodate 36 patients. In 1992 the hospital had a capacity of 175 beds which were distributed across 10 wards.
In the 1990s the Government of Belize (under both the PUP and UDP, respectively) commissioned and oversaw the construction of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The hospital was named in honour of Dr. Karl Heusner, who was born in Belize on September 6, 1872 to German immigrant parents. He was known throughout the Caribbean and Latin America for his expertise in tropical diseases.3
The KHMH opened its door on September 18, 1996. Prima facie, it boasted a sprawling 112 bed facility equipped with five operating theatres, an ICU, modern medical equipment, properly designed layout for hospital support services and an impressive physical plant with industrial grade air conditioning systems, boilers, chillers and automatic back-up generators.
3 Many consider Dr. Heusner to be the first Belizean born doctor. However, John Young (born October 12th 1796 – died June 26th 1865) is in fact the first Belizean born doctor. He served at the Belize City Hospital from the early 1820s and was the first Public Medical Officer.
6
Shortly after the opening of the KHMH the GOB with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) initiated the Health Policy Reform Project. An extensive diagnosis was done of the health sector and in December 1998 the consultants submitted their final report. The findings of this report would form the basis of the ongoing Health.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
As part of the transition process the Interim Board was also charged with appointing a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and establishing a management team as per the draft Bill. There was an intense debate on the Board as to whether the first CEO of the hospital had to be a foreigner trained in hospital administration to lead the way or if such a person should work along with a Belizean CEO.
After much back and forth on this point the consensus was that Belize was in a reform mode and as a young country it should endeavor to identify local solutions for its problems. Hence the Board opted to search for a qualified and experienced Belizean administrator who had a proven track record and leadership skills to bring order to a largely chaotic, crisis management situation. In November 2000, the Board appointed Dr. Alvaro Rosado PhD. as the CEO and charged him with establishing the senior
11
management team as per the draft KHMHA Bill to guide the development of the new Karl Heusner Memorial Authority. Dr. Rosado had previously served for more than nine years as the National University’s vice president for Finance and Administration and at times had acted as President of the University for prolonged periods.
By January 2001 the newly appointed CEO had put in place a management team with the addition of a Director of Financial Services - Ms. Sandra Zuniga, a Director of Medical Services - Mr. John Waight FRECSEd, a Director of Nursing Services - Matron Ivorine Bulwer-Hemans and a Director of General Administration - Ms. Laurel Grant.

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Perhaps the best albeit anecdotal, the evidence for the transformation of the KHMHA lies in the court of public opinion. When the KHMHA Board decided to repaint the most visible areas of the exterior walls of the building staff members voluntarily donated vacation days towards the cause. Local philanthropists and activists got on the airwaves to encourage donations from the public. The project costed some $60,000.00 BZD and was funded as follows: KHMH Authority $30,000.00, KHMH Staff Donated Vacation Days $12,000.00 and the general public contributed some $18,000.00. The response was over whelming and in the process the public dubbed the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital as “The People’s Hospital”.
There was an article in the Reporter newspaper where the author asked the KHMHA for a second chance. Some months before the author, a relative, and name sake of Dr. Karl Heusner had expressed her dismay of having her name associated with such a facility. As her story goes she delivered a baby in a private facility and was told that the baby needed special medical care that was not available at the facility. To her surprise she was referred to the KHMHA where she and her child received excellent cure and care. The author was gracious enough to publicly thank the team at the hospital and rescinded her previous words. Today one seldom hears negative comments about KHMH on the news or the local radio airwaves and the few complaints that are made are promptly and effectively dealt with. It no longer bears the brunt of public dismay or jokes. The institution has developed a good working relationship with the private sector and has withstood some

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#465248 - 05/26/13 04:55 PM Re: KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
More from Alvaro....

I was approached by several media houses early last week to comment on the deaths of 12 neonates at the KHMH within a period of 20 days but I refused because I did not think it would have been fair to the KHMH administration since they had indicated that they would be carrying out a thorough investigation. Instead I contacted the Chairlady of the KHMH Board and offered to assist in the investigation (incognito and free of charge).

On Thursday the KHMH Board held a press conference to share the results of their "investigation" but I thought the information shared was woefully inadequate. When the media approached me again after the press conference I decided to share my perspective with the public and gave interviews to KREM, LOVE and Channel Seven - all of which aired these interviews and the Reporter also printed an article sharing my perspective. I did this because I think it unfair that the public was fed a sanitized and whitewashed summary of the "findings". KHMH has not responded to my offer to assist and I think the chances of my being brought into the picture are slim to none.

I was approached by PUP Positive Vibes Radio to be a guest on their Tuesday morning show to share with the public an insiders view of how the KHMH NICU operates and what could have caused the fiasco. At first I refused because I did not want my presentation to look like a political attack on the KHMH and GOB.

Since no other media house has requested information from me I have decided to appear on the VIBES morning show on Tuesday. This might be the public's only chance to get an insight into the guts of KHMH.

I still remain ready to help in the investigation into what happened and how to minimize the chances of it happening again.

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#465345 - 05/28/13 10:50 AM Re: KHMH: A Dozen Dead Babies [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Help coming for Belize hospital where 12 babies died

Prime Minister Dean Barrow says the government will assist in sending neonatal cases to private hospitals following the death of 12 babies at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) that had been linked to the outbreak of enterobacter cloacae – an organism that is said to be responsible for major outbreaks in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) all over the world.

In a statement after he was briefed on the situation at the KHMH, Prime Minister Barrow has “agreed to assist with any interim arrangements needed to outsource urgent neonatal cases to private hospitals while the KHMH unit is being made completely safe by re-modelling”.

Director of Medical Services at the hospital, Dr Adrian Coye, said that the enterobacter cloacae organism is not a superbug.

“The problem lies in the fact that it is very fastidious, difficult to clear and there is transmission by direct contact and also by indirect contact. So it can be on the skin of any of us right now in this room, on your clothing material, on stethoscopes, on IV drip stands, the surfaces in the clinical area, etc,” he said.

“The profile of the resistance pattern within the organism we have found is sensitive to antibiotics that we do have in the hospital and made available through the Ministry of Health.”

He said due to the nature of the outbreak, help will be coming from the Washington-based Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

In the aftermath of the deaths, the hospital’s NICU has been closed and an independent contractor has ordered an assessment of the air quality in the unit. This will be followed by the removal and disinfection of all equipment and terminal cleaning of the entire unit.

The Ministry of Health said it is making all of its resources available to the KHMH to investigate and deal promptly with “this alarming situation” at the country’s only referral hospital.

A news conference will be held on May 30 to disclose the preliminary findings of the investigation.

Source


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