The Karl Heusner Memorial treats more trauma and critical care cases than any other facility, private or public in the country. But, regardless of how many lives it saves, the hospital's public image will probably forever carry that taint of the 13 babies of May 2013 who died in the pediatric intensive care unit.

A major part of turning the page is re-opening an expanded and refitted neo-natal intensive care unit. Work started over a year ago, and today, three hundred thousand dollars later, a ceremony was held to mark it's re-opening. For maximum publicity effect, the KHMH Administration joined that event up with the opening of an adult intensive care unit - the first dedicated one in the public system. We found out what difference both will make in the quality of care the public receives:..

Jules Vasquez
"The hospital has been dogged for so long by these 13 babies, we know its 8 that died from Enterobacter, but in the public mind its 13 that died. So the public perception of the hospital has been dogged by this. Are you hoping that the opening of this spanking new unit is a way to sort of turn the page on that?"

Dr. Adrian Coye, Medical Chief Of Staff - KHMH
"First of all that was a very unfortunate and regrettable experience and we will never be able to shake that off, but what has happen very immediately and subsequent to that is a total transformation, not only in the physical space where the babies are manage but the whole processes and systems that have been changed such that we've had many months of zero mortality in the NICU."

Jules Vasquez
"How do you answer the criticism that it's great that we have this, but it come sat such a cost?"

Dr. Gary Longsworth, CEO - KHMH
"Well the conditions that existed at the time of the outbreak and what exist now are entirely different. What has not changed is the fact the hospital has to respond to the demands of the public in terms of providing healthcare. That's the position we were in then and that's the position we are in now, that we are mandated to respond. What is different now is that we have the space and the technology to respond better than we were able a year and a half ago."

Jules Vasquez
"We've made a great step forward in the neonatal intensive care unit, but at the same time it was at a great and awful cost because 13 children had to die in May of 2013 for that to happen."

Chandra Nisbet Cansino, Chairman - KHMH
"That will always be in the bitter sweetest of this event. We still are very sorry about all of the babies that passed away during that outbreak. Unfortunately as they alluded to in the speeches it's not isolated to Karl Huesner, we can never say it will never happen again, but with the facilities that we have now, and we can say that the chances of it happening are very low."

Reporter
"Your colleague member of the House of Representative was here. John Briceno. He was the one who criticized the entire KHMH system in the last house meeting. How would you take this side of this?"

Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health
"As everything we cannot do everything immediately and that's why we did invite the minister John Briceno to come and see that we are working on what PAHO had recommended."

Chandra Nisbet Cansino, Chairman - KHMH
"Previously what we call the intensive unit was basically an area that the hospital had isolated to treat patients that were intensively ill, so it wasn't an ICU will all the amenities that we have now and at that time I think the maximum was about 3-4 depending on the severity of the illness or the injury. Now we have capacity to treat 7-8 patients that are intensively ill, all with their own ventilator and all the amenities that you need to provide for intensively ill patient likewise with the neonatal intensive care unit where can now accommodate 21 neonates in a much expanded area. We have space now to accommodate the families a little bit more than we did before because the care of children includes the families as well and so I think it will have a very great impact on very ill patients."

Dr. Gary Longsworth, CEO - KHMH
"The adult intensive care unit is really the only public intensive care unit in the country and that we receive everything - all types of cases here. It's extremely important that we've been able to bring it up to a modern standard and as Dr. Arriaga said, no different from standard anywhere else in the world."

Dr. Adrian Coye, Medical Chief Of Staff - KHMH
"This is the opportunity now, a major leap forward in critical care for this institution."

Jules Vasquez
"But what percentage of increase would you say this represent from a qualitative perspective?"

Chandra Nisbet Cansino, Chairman - KHMH
"I would say it's a very significant increase. You probably want to give a grade, but I'll give it an A. This is the premier intensive care unit in Belize for both neonatal and adults including the private sector."

The work on the pediatric intensive care unit cost three hundred thousand dollars, while the adult intensive care unit, which has 7 beds, cost five hundred thousand dollars.

The hospital also re-dedicated its Stat Lab today to long time board members Maria Elena Sylvester.

Later on, we'll have more from the event as we discuss CEO Gary Longsworth's departure at the end of this month, and who his replacement might be.

Channel 7