Headline — 23 January 2015 — by Albert J. Ciego
Hospital negligence caused mother’s death after childbirth?

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 21, 2015–Belize’s maternal health system has taken another direct hit – the second in just a week – with the death on Sunday of a young mother shortly after childbirth, due to what appears to be gross medical negligence.

Norma Noemi Marroquin, 25, a housewife of Billy White, Cayo District, the mother of a 3-week old baby, tragically died on Sunday, January 18, due to complications after a portion of the placenta was allegedly left inside her body after giving birth at the Spanish Lookout Village Clinic on Monday, January 5.

Marroquin died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital at about 9:55 Sunday night. Her common-law husband, Arson Moh, 24, also of Billy White, has since filed a complaint with the police and has urged the medical authorities to launch an investigation into the negligence that caused the death of his wife.

A portion of the placenta was allegedly left inside her; the tragedy occurred just a week after another mother almost lost her life because of hospital negligence

Moh told police that Marroquin, who had been living with him for the past six years, was pregnant but in good health. On Monday, January 5, he took her to the Spanish Lookout Village Clinic to give birth to the baby, after which she was released to go home on Thursday, January 8.

Moh explained that at about 1:00 Monday afternoon, January 12, Marroquin began to experience a lot of pain, and he took her to the San Ignacio Hospital, from where she was taken to the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, where she was seen by doctors.

At about 4:00 that same Monday evening, while he was at the hospital, a doctor came and informed him that their examination revealed that a portion of the placenta had been left inside his wife. The doctor said that she was in a serious condition and required an urgent operation, which could not be done at the Western Regional Hospital.

Marroquin was then taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), for the operation to be conducted.

Moh said that at about 5:30 that same Monday, his wife was admitted at the KHMH, and on Tuesday, January 13, he was informed that she would need to get an operation because one of her ovaries had burst inside her.

At about 2:00 that Tuesday afternoon, she was taken into surgery. After the surgery, the doctor informed him that she would be kept under observation due to the fact that she had “a lot of infection,” Moh recounted.

Moh told police that Marroquin survived the surgery, but remained at the KHMH until Sunday, when at about 9:55 that night, she was declared dead in the hospital.

Moh reported that Marroquin had not been suffering from any medical ailment, and that the only health complications she had, started after she gave birth and her placenta was left inside her.

This apparent negligence occurred a little over a month after personnel at the KHMH, according to the allegations of another young mother, left cotton swabs inside her after childbirth, which almost killed her. The incident reportedly occurred on December 12.

Amandala asked Sheila Garnett, Public Relations Officer at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, about the death, and was told that Marroquin did not give birth at the KHMH, but in Cayo, and she was first taken to Belmopan, before taken to the KHMH. She said that there is a Maternal Death Policy that has been implemented by the Ministry of Health and so our query should be directed to the Ministry of Health.

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