BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 9, 2020– The Belize Medical and Dental Association (BMDA) has spoken out against the mishandling of medical personnel at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in an unconventional press release that it issued following the termination of key medical practitioners from the KHMH while Belize prepares for a likely second wave of COVID-19.
As early as May, reports were emerging that doctors who had been serving at the country’s only tertiary care hospital for decades were being dismissed due to a shortage in revenue being experienced at the KHMH. Among those practitioners was Dr. Amin Hegar, who has been providing twenty-four-hour optical treatment at the hospital – a service that has been discontinued as of May 15th. According to the Belize Times, an unnamed internist at the hospital also had their contract terminated around the same time.
Based on the BMDA’s statement, the physician, who was trained to manage the Intensive Care ward and critically ill patients, was the first to get the axe. This has struck many as a counter-productive decision made by the Government Belize at a time when they are warning the public to prepare for a spike in coronavirus cases as they prepare to open the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) on August 15.
The BMDA press release goes on to bemoan this decision at a time when proper medical aid is crucial in the country:
“What we cannot understand and do not accept is that medical doctors, key in providing vital care to poor Belizeans, be taken away front them. In times of this Pandemic, the physician trained to manage Intensive care and critically ill patients was the first one targeted. An intensive care physician takes a minimum of twelve years of training. How can you replace and train others quickly when in a few months you may expect an increase in COVID-19 as we open our airport? We are saddened and grieved that other options were not first considered before heartlessly removing key physicians needed to serve the people of Belize,” the release said.
The BMDA ended the statement by urging the appropriate authorities to examine more “creative” ways to deal with the circumstances in order to expand rather than reduce Belize’s already diminishing medical services.