Corporal Jimenez Dies of COVID-19 inside an Ambulance at K.H.M.H.

As the death toll continues to climb, there is constant reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic does not discriminate.  Men, women and children from all walks of society are being affected by this virulent disease.  This morning, after waiting several hours inside an ambulance outside of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, a police officer lost his fight with the illness.  Over the weekend, thirty-eight-year-old David Jimenez, a corporal in the Belize Police Department, reported that he had begun exhibiting symptoms of the dreaded sickness.  While he was swabbed and instructed to remain at home pending the outcome of the test, Jimenez began experiencing respiratory distress overnight and requested the services of an ambulance.  When the Belize Emergency Response Team dispatched one this morning, shortly after six o’clock, he was immediately transported to the K.H.M.H. where he was made to remain outside of the compound for several hours before receiving medical attention.  By the time doctors on duty got around to him, the corporal had already passed away inside the ambulance.  It’s a sad day for the police department as they too are on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“First and foremost let me, on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs and New Growth and the Belize Police Department, extend our sincerest condolences to the family of David Jimenez who, as you would know by now, passed away this morning with COVID-like symptoms.  We cannot at this time say that he was COVID positive because we are still awaiting the results, but from over the weekend Mr. Jimenez began displaying symptoms of COVID and based on that he had gone to be swabbed on Sunday.  Since then he was told not to return to duty until the result of his swab has returned.  And so he was off, and what we gathered from his common-law is that he experienced some difficulty last night breathing and so she had called for the ambulance to take him to the K.H.M.H.   The ambulance arrived quickly thereafter, it was around six a.m. or thereabout and ferried Mr. Jimenez to the hospital.  From what I was made to understand is that there was some issue at the hospital, I don’t know if it had to do with their protocols but there was seemingly some back and forth between the BERT personnel who took the officer to the hospital and the people working at the hospital where they had denied to accept the officer in the hospital because from what I have been told by Mr. Staine who works with BERT and who was the responding officer from BERT, was that the hospital was saying that it was a patient under investigation and based on that they could not accept him in or something of that sort.  That led to the officer staying in the ambulance for over three hours, not getting any sort of attention that he would have required except for the BERT personnel who were constantly doing what they could have with a view to have kept him breathing and eventually the officer passed away.”

Channel 5