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KHMH Under COVID Stress, Morgue Full #552691
09/15/21 04:40 AM
09/15/21 04:40 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,383
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

KHMH Morgue Full, Tells Families to Come For Their Dead

The morgue at the largest hospital in the country can currently hold up to 12 bodies. But, right now, there are 15 bodies left unclaimed at the KHMH. This has caused a major backlog for the hospital - where there are more new bodies every day. That's why they are asking the public to pick up their loved ones since, at the rate people are dying - both because of COVID and of other causes - the bodies will keep piling up - to unmanageable levels.

The KHMH reminded citizens of its regulations to hold COVID 19 positive bodies for only 24 hours, and highlighted that some bodies have been in the morgue for 3-4 days. And while there may be plenty of reasons that families haven't picked up the bodies yet, not all of them are sufficiently justifiable to cause such a strain on an already overwhelmed hospital.

The acting CEO at the KHMH, Timothy Seguro, spoke more about the issue.

Timothy Seguro, Acting CEO, KHMH
"What we're doing is that we're making a public plea to the society in general with respect to assisting us to get their bodies out as quick as possible from the morgue. The reason being, we originally had space for 21 bodies but one of the units had stopped functioning about 2 weeks ago and with the advent of COVID and the situation where we are, we're going in excess of what we should have in our morgue."

Reporter:
"If it was for 21 with that one down for how many do you have capacity?"

Timothy Seguro, Acting CEO, KHMH
"Right now the capacity is for 12."

Courtney Menzies:
"And when do you think the other unit will be repaired?"

Timothy Seguro, Acting CEO, KHMH
"Through the forensic department they're telling us before the end of this week that unit should be repaired. However with the rate of deaths we're having and it includes COVID and regular deaths, we will exceed that 21 in no time."

Reporter:
"How much do you have in the morgue right now, are you over capacity?"

Timothy Seguro, Acting CEO, KHMH
"Yes we have 15 and we had to ask forensics department to take on three bodies that we should e responsible for."

"As a general Belizean society, we like to have this 3-5 to 6,7 days wait for just planning but we're asking if they can cut that down to two or three days, it will greatly assist us."

"For COVID deaths we want the bodies to get out of the morgue as quick as possible so that we decrease the risk of cross contamination for our staff and other persons coming into the morgue."

Courtney Menzies:
"Can you say how many of the 15 bodies are COVID deaths?"

Timothy Seguro, Acting CEO, KHMH
"Right now we have six. This morning it was seven but one left."

Courtney Menzies:
"And is there a fee to take out the bodies, I heard a lot of people complaining that they might not have the money to take out the bodies."

Timothy Seguro, Acting CEO, KHMH
"There's a minimal fee I would say for the undertaker fee which is $100 and then for that it is $50 for every night after. So to say that it is the fees that's causing the bodies to stay here, I Don't see why because the longer you leave the body, the more it gets."

"From ever since I was here about two or three weeks ago, our personnel from the morgue have been calling the relatives and also the undertakers to try and fast track the process but some people are adamant that they don't see the need for us to hurry them."

Reporter:
"So what has been the response from them?"

Timothy Seguro, Acting CEO, KHMH
"There have been various reasons from finance to we're waiting for a loved one to come from stats, those are the type of reasons they give us."

KHMH Under COVID Stress

And the morgue isn't the only thing that's full to capacity - currently the COVID beds in the hospital are maxed out - with 10 ICU hospitalisations. And as we've reported before, the hospital had to enter into emergency mode and phase 3 of its COVID plan because of the number of hospitalizations for the virus. And with more hospitalizations comes more overworked health staff. The acting CEO spoke about the stress that the hospital and its workers are under.

Timothy Seguro, Acting CEO, KHMH
"Our capacity for COVID positive patients is 23 beds. Right now we have, 24 was the last time we checked with statistic but probably we have one or two more admissions since then so we're already in excess of our capacity and then alongside the COVID unit we also have the PUI unit which also works in tangent and that unit is also stressed because we have room for seven and we're around 5,6 usually."

"When we go into emergency mode, those persons that would have access to the clinics and to elective surgeries, all those persons are placed on hold and we have to concentrate our efforts on the care of those patients in the COVID and the PUI area. So that's where the inconvenience comes in for the public. For our staff, it means we have to be working excess hours. I mean the average amount of hours the nurses and physicians are working are among 60-70 hours per week and not all of these staff claim overtime, they're doing it out of their own will and we could never say thank you enough to them."

Funeral Director Urgent Restraint For Poor Families

And in recent months the man who's heard all of those excuses is popular Funeral Director Andrew Munnings. In a statement posted to his Facebook page today, he condemned the KHMH's request to have families quickly claim the bodies of loved ones who have died of COVID-19.

He says that the expectation, especially under the present circumstances, that those bodies should be claimed in 24 hours is unreasonable given the fact that so many families are facing mounting financial crisis, and that families are quote: "Not trained or prepared to facilitate the risk associated with the transportation of a body." He goes on to say that in such a case where the family cannot afford an undertaker, the Ministry of Health should quote: "Provide transportation help to make sure caskets and bodies are safely transported to the cemetery."

Munnings says that it's, quote: "Unfair to expect [families] to find funds within 24 hours" citing the fact that not even the $1,500 Social Security funeral grant would be released within 24 hours of a person's death.

He recommends that GOB finds cold storage to preserve and hold COVID bodies for up to 5 days, and that the Ministry of Health facilitate expedient service on COVID death certificates, The third is that City and Town councils have grave spaces on hand at cemeteries to host short notice funerals and that they create a "Grace Fund" that would allow for families facing a Covid funeral to pay later.

And rounding out his post Munnings said, quote: "No family member wants to see their loved one thrown in a dirt hole because they require more time to find funds to give their loved one a decent casket and tomb." End quote.

Channel 7


COVID Contingency Plan for K.H.M.H.

The data issued today by the Ministry of Health and Wellness indicates that there are thirty-nine hospitalizations and ten critical COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit. With Belize District recording the highest number of active cases, there is concern about the national referral hospital which is already in emergency mode. Doctor Melissa Diaz-Musa spoke to News Five today about the contingency plan should the situation continue to spiral.

Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa, Deputy Regional Health Manager, Central Health Region

“Karl Heusner has shifted a little bit than the last outbreak where we saw that Orange Walk and Corozal were the districts that had the higher numbers so their regional hospital was full. Now Karl Heusner is serving for both our secondary and tertiary care. So we are seeing moderate cases and severe and critical cases at Karl Heusner because in Belize District that’s our secondary and tertiary hospital. We are in discussion and we really work closely with the K.H.M.H. Central Health Region, we provide a lot of the primary care services – the contact tracing, swabbing, looking after mild cases, visiting homes; we do a lot of that – and the K.H.M.H. then takes most of the admissions. So during the daytime, our facilities can also see patients and keep patients in observation for a few days. But we are also looking at other surge plans that are out. For instance, opening up other wards and looking at other regions and how they can assist as well for moderate cases so that Karl Heusner can focus on the critical cases.”

Acting C.E.O. on Keeping K.H.M.H. Functioning

And while the K.H.M.H. continues to steer through its nightmarish realities, it is still without a permanent captain at the bow of the ship. For the time being, Timothy Seguro is holding over as C.E.O.  News Five asked if he has been able to keep up with the heavy demands of the office.

Timothy Seguro, Acting C.E.O., K.H.M.H.

“I don’t think I should be the person to say that. I don’t blow my own horn. But, I have been trying to hold things together. That is all I can say about that. This hospital basically, it is the employees that basically keep the hospital functioning. Without them no C.E.O.s are allowed to function.”

Channel 5


Re: KHMH Under COVID Stress, Morgue Full [Re: Marty] #552795
09/20/21 04:18 AM
09/20/21 04:18 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,383
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP
The KHMHA advises the public that the facility has reached a critical point where patient admissions are concerned. This crisis has been recurring over the past few weeks due to the alarming Covid-19 community spread, especially in Belize City and the Belize District.

The Covid ward is again almost at capacity and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is full. We have admitted seven Covid patients today and are evaluating more patients for possible admission. This situation restricts our ability to admit additional patients, and that has been communicated to the relevant authorities at the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

We regret the inconvenience this will cause to the public and will endeavour to resolve this issue as soon as possible. We appreciate the cooperation of the public as together we go through this difficult time.

We encourage persons who are eligible to be vaccinated to do so, and to help us by avoiding the risk of becoming critically ill with severe Covid-19 infection.

Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital


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