Headed to the Hospital? It's a prospect that in the current climate
makes many Belizeans nervous and with good reason, that's because at
least one person is said to have died from respiratory issues right in
the national referral hospital's parking lot.
A terrible fate and one that you'd hope to avoid at all costs. This
afternoon Cherisse Halsall took this concern to the Director of medical
services and he explained the process for check in, in the hopes that
such an unfortunate incident never happen again.
You've heard the COVID emergency instructions, they're given to the elderly
but also to diabetics and hypertensives. "If you have high blood pressure
or diabetes and develop a symptom of COVID-19 - sore throat, cough,
difficulty breathing - Call your doctor immediately."
But what if your doctor determines that it's time to head for the hospital?
It's a situation that many Belizeans have found themselves in this year and
it can be daunting, even more so if your emergency occurs under the cover
And this afternoon we headed to the hospital to ask the Acting Medical
Director just how to enter or bring a loved one to the hospital in the
midst of the pandemic.
Dr. Adrian Coye - Acting Director of Medical Services
"When you come to engage us in care there is a triage point which you will
see at the front of the hospital that triage point is, again the nurse will
interview you see if you have symptoms or not and be able to say okay
you're going to go into the area where we investigate you as possibly
having COVID because again you have to tease out the different symptoms etc
or they may direct you to this side which is where are standing, the
non-Covid access to the hospital. So the triage point also has a booth as
you've seen in everything else this booth has the safety features that
allow you to do the diagnostic swabbing of patients, so really we want to
strengthen the way that process occurs which is right at the entrance, the
triage area, strengthen the process of doing swabbing. We have the
assurance that our staff is able to give a rapid test within 2 hours and of
course patients who are symptomatic, they often go onto having a PCR test
even if the rapid test is negative but the asymptomatic ones are the tricky
ones because even rapid test may not show them to be positive, so that's
the challenge that we have but ultimately our aim is to try and heighten
our surveillance to minimize aberrancy or unexpected inadvertent entry into
our non covid area with patients and who others who may have covid."
Coye also spoke about the unfortunate incidents of several Covid patients
who died from respiratory issues in the hospital's parking lot.
Dr. Adrian Coye
"Those were very unfortunate events in the past, we've done a lot of
measures in terms of heightened awareness of who is out here and with that
the process has remained unchanged, that you have to have a triage point as
the way that sorts you to come towards this part of the hospital which is
the A&E, for non-Covid -patients or non-COVID condition patient and on
the left the usual route that every knows about going to accident and
emergency is actually the side of the hospital where we have our covid
treating area. They will come up probably the same path as usual but at the
point where the gate is, the guard and our nurse is there to see and
determine if they have to triage them while they are in the car, assess
their condition, if their able to come out and sit in the area then that's
fine, we can also do that as well but ultimately from that sorting point,
you either going to go left or right. So, the main thing is that you can
still drive into the emergency entrance, but you may end up being
redirected to the carpark in front of the hospital. I know it may sound
confusing but really it has to be done so that we protect everyone."
The man in question who passed away in the hospital's parking lot was
Police Corporal David Jimenez. There are also anecdotal reports of a
second parking lot COVID death shortly after his.
Covid Tests Upon Admission
And those constantly high numbers are part of the reason why the
K.H.M.H, the hospital has instituted a new policy when it comes to
As of today, every person admitted for treatment will have to undergo a
COVID 19 rapid test; they will also have to be prepared to undergo a
PCR test to confirm a positive. It's just one more measure being used
to safeguard the health of patients and staff at this critical master
link in the healthcare chain of service.
It's a measure that the acting Director of Medical Services says was
brought on due to risks posed by asymptomatic COVID patients.
"Now Dr. Coye in the Press release that we received this morning we got the
information that from this point forward every admission to the KHMH will
receive a rapid test, which that patient would have to be prepared and know
that, that confirmatory PCR test and why that has become at this point."
Dr. Adrian Coye - Acting Director of Medical Services
"Ok well as we all know we have a pandemic for COVID and of course in
Belize it has been an epidemic and it's on its journey to being endemic as
well, so to say that it means we have a community spread many patients
actually are Asymptomatic carriers and therefore when we come to manage at
Karl Heusner when we have them in our midst we have the hospital divided
into a COVID treating area and a non-COVID area so our aim is not to have
patients with COVID enter into the non-COVID treating area and it's
important to know that the diagnosis has a clinical impact as well not only
for the patient because we know that patients who do have COVID may have
higher risk related to cervical procedures and other things and therefore
we want to be able to identify these patients with the diagnosis and of
course we want to have them in appropriate areas of the hospital related to
that to minimize the risk for exposure to other patients and also- exposure
to our staff."