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Open letter to Minister Chebat

LettersOpen letter to Minister Chebat

Dear Editor,

Honorable Michel Chebat
Minister of Health and Wellness
(Minister responsible for public health)

Dear Minister Chebat,
It is with a heavy heart and much concern for my fellow Belizeans that I write this letter of grave concern.

I am bringing to your attention the fact that patients hospitalized at the public hospital must obtain some of their medication from an outside pharmacy and take it to the KHMH to be administered. Case in point: the student Kassman Gill who was preparing to enter third form at SJC on August 17, and was shot the day before school resumed, August 16, at around 2:00 p.m. near the Atlantic Bank near the corner of Cemetery and Magazine Road. He was taken in the back of a police truck to the KHMH and has remained in critical condition in the ICU since. On day 8.of his hospitalization, his father, Cecil Gill, was speaking with the doctor in the ICU at the bedside of his comatose son when a female who identified herself as being from “Finance” handed him a bill and stated, “25% is due now or it will go to collections.” He was stunned and blurted that she was very insensitive to present him with a hospital bill at a time when he was talking to the doctor.

I don’t care how broke the Government of Belize is — where is the humane, sympathetic, dignified, and moral behavior in this picture? There are many NGOs abroad filling in the gap for the government of Belize. For example, there are at least 22 NGOs in Los Angeles alone. The least the government can do is to provide quality healthcare for its citizens. Secondly, KHMH is out of Vancomycin. Cecil has had to obtain Vancomycin at the pharmacy at Belize Medical Associates on multiple occasions. Is it that if you are poor and unable to afford needed medication, that you die?

As the ultimate person responsible for healthcare in the country of Belize, these issues require your immediate attention. The pandemic has fractured the economy of Belize, especially for those who were working in the tourist industry, as Kassman’s parents were. Thank God for family.

My recommendations are as follows: 1. Immediate Patient Sensitivity Training for financial workers.

2. Personnel with medical background, not the security guard, to approve who may or may not visit a KHMH patient.

3. A partnership with local pharmacies to supply needed medications to the people’s hospital, KHMH.

4. Police and ambulance must respond together when called to a victim of gun violence, not the police alone. Care must be taken when transporting a shooting victim to the hospital, and it should not be left to the police to transport critically ill and injured patients in the back of their truck. I thank God that they were able to get Kassman to the hospital alive. He is hanging on a thread with 3 bullets still in him. We must move healthcare into this present century for all Belizeans.

The doctors and nurses are working under strenuous conditions that make me cringe, and we must thank and applaud them. The GOB has a moral obligation to the citizens of Belize who elected them to deliver quality patient care to them and the tourists.

I prefer not to go public with the above information at this time.

I would expect and appreciate a response to these vital issues.

P.S. I would like to add that patients at the KHMH do not have access to CT Scans or MRI. Patients have to be taken to the Belize Medical Associates for these neuro-imaging procedures. Patients’ lives are at risk. Kassman’s blood pressure and oxygen levels plummeted when attempts were made to move him to Medical Associates for these tests.

Janice B. Longobardi, R.N., J.P.

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