Headline — 18 September 2015 — by Johnelle McKenzie
Women’s tragic deaths caused by hospital neglect?

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 17, 2015–In the span of four days, between September 10 and 14, two patients from the Toledo District have died tragically, and information to Amandala is that the deaths were caused by lack of proper equipment, and, in the case of at least one hospital, negligence.

       The three hospitals involved are the Punta Gorda Town Hospital, Southern Regional Hospital, and Western Regional Hospital, and both of the two patients died in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where they had been sent as a last recourse.

       On September 10, Norberta Sanchez, 29, died at the KHMH after she was transported there from the Western Regional Hospital via an ambulance on Wednesday, September 9. Sanchez had to be rushed to the KHMH after she had developed complications from a second surgery at the Western Regional Hospital that was supposed to stop her from bleeding after a C-section was done and her baby girl was delivered.

       Sanchez, who was a resident of Big Falls, Toledo District, had travelled to Dangriga in order to get her C-section done. When she and her common-law husband, John Romero, reached the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, they were told that there was no equipment there to perform a C-section.

       The couple travelled to Belmopan by ambulance and the procedure was performed, but after the operation, Sanchez began bleeding heavily and in order to stop the bleeding, a second procedure was done on her. This time, a hysterectomy was performed.

        They took out her womb and sewed her up again; however, by Wednesday evening her condition had taken a turn for the worse.

      Romero said that it was then that he was informed by hospital personnel that there was nothing else they could do and that she would need to be taken to the KHMH.

       “When we arrived at KHMH [that Wednesday night], I went with her in the theatre and right in front of my eyes an ultrasound was done on her. The doctor showed me a pool of blood in my wife’s abdomen,” Romero said.

       According to Romero, the doctor informed him that another surgery had to be conducted on Sanchez, who was in a critical condition, to remove the blood and stop the bleeding.

        Romero said that the surgery took a little over an hour, and then the doctor came out and informed him that 3 pints of blood had been removed from Sanchez’s abdomen, and the bleeding had stopped. She was then put in the ICU unit and kept under close observation, he said.

      Romero said that on Thursday, September 10, he got a call from the hospital informing him that his wife was dead. Romero told Amandala tonight that he blames Western Regional Hospital, which didn’t have an ultrasound machine, which would have detected that his wife was still bleeding internally.

       Meanwhile, the second patient, Lucia Cal of San Antonio, Toledo District, had begun experiencing severe abdominal pain at home. PlusTV reported yesterday that upon seeking help from the Punta Gorda Hospital, she was given medication to ease the pain, and sent home. The medication did not help and she ended up at the hospital again.

       Cal was transferred to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga, then to the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, then to the KHMH in Belize City.

      It is reported that Dr. Hugh Sanchez issued a death certificate which stated that her death was the result of a ruptured or perforated appendix, which would have required an immediate surgery to save her life. The delay in diagnosing and treating her condition likely led to her death.

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