In May of last year, the news broke that thirteen babies had died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital due a bacteria outbreak. At the start of that scandal, CEO Gary Longsworth indicated on national TV that he did not know about the problem until he saw it on the news.

 

At the sitting of the house today, Orange Walk Central Area Representative, John Briceno, brought up the matter saying that there should have been and that there should be more done to investigate the death of the thirteen infants. Briceno exclaimed that the KHMH did not accept responsibility for the incident and that it wasn’t until after public outcry that an investigation was launched, headed by PAHO. In June of 2013, PAHO issued its report identifying numerous discrepancies in how the case was handled at the hospital and also highlighted the lack of proper resources and management at the medical facility. Briceno stated that one year later the hospital management would still not issue a report on the incident or reach a settlement with the families of the babies that died there. In spite of this, five out of the thirteen families decided to file a lawsuit. After mediation, the KHMH finally settled and offered each of the five families ten thousand dollars. Briceno says this is not enough and is completely unacceptable.


John Briceno – OW Central Area representative


“Mr. Speaker, this is not just a slap on the face of these women or these mothers but also an insult to the memory of these children, $10,000.00 for the death of each for the five of the innocent children Mr. Speaker, from an institution and ministry that is riddled with corruption, mismanagement and wasteful spending.  Let me remind you Mr. Speaker and remind my colleagues in this honorable house that way back in as early as June in 2009 in this National Assembly, I called the attention of the Prime Minister about the hustling and the corruption at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital lead by it ring leader the former Chief Financial Officer, one Mr. Carlos Perrera a well-connected UDP lackey from Orange Walk, well actually he is from Belize city, he married to a beautiful young lady from Orange Walk and that is why he is on Orange Walk but he is not from Orange Walk he is from Belize City and he was the one that was leading the big hustling in the purchases of the medicines; let me give you a few examples to remind ourselves as to what was happening …”


Speaker of House


“But member is t in anyway related to your topic that you brought up about the babies?”


John Briceno – OW Central Area representative


“Yes sir, it is directly related and the point that I am making here is wasteful spending, hundreds of thousands of dollars and yet they will give a ten thousand dollars to each mother.”


Given the situation, Briceno listed some things he believes should be done to bring true closure to the case.


John Briceno – OW Central Area representative


“I am asking the Prime Minister must get involve that I believe that these five mothers and I think it is not only the five mother but the thirteen mothers that lost their children Mr. Speaker should be given a proper compensation, an ten thousand messily dollars is not proper compensation, there is no amount of money that can bring back those children but at least something more can be done for these thirteen mother Mr. Speaker.  Secondly, Mr. Speaker, that the minister of health offer a formal apology to these thirteen grieve mothers and not only to the thirteen mothers Mr. Speaker, he needs to give a formal apology to the entire country of Belize because he at the end of the day is responsible for the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and three that it is high time that the Prime Minister stop protecting his minister of health, he needs to fire the minister of health and if the Prime Minister chooses not to fire the minister of health the people of Corozal bay will fire the minister of health when they call the election.”


Following Briceno’s presentation, the man at the helms of the Ministry of Health, Minister Pablo Marin, stood and gave his response. Here is what he said.


Pablo Marin – Minister of Health


“There is no cover up as soon as we found out that this anti-bacterial was there we call PAHO to come and do all the investigation and we are working there and I will invite you and your friend from Orange Walk to go to KHMH and see all the renovations that we have done for the neonatal unit so we can show you and we can show the nation how extend and how much we love this country that we are doing everything possible to have the health system of Belize to move to another level. I can tell you one thing that the people from Corozal and the people of this nation are very happy of what we are doing in the ministry of health and right now my colleague can say that because in san Pedro you have always boasted that you are going to do a 24 hour service in San Pedro and right now with the help of the Prime Minister and my colleagues we are doing a 24 in san Pedro.

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