Thursday, August 6, 2009


* 100 year old Western Belize Government Hospital in San Ignacio.


If Wednesday was a typical day, the EMERGENCY ROOM was full to overflowing on Wednesday at the 100 year old Government Hospital in San Ignacio. People coming in all day, from chopped legs, to deathlike emphysema, flu and fevers, you name it. It was a busy, busy, busy day at the old wooden hospital in San Ignacio Town. They are building a new POLYCLINIC, but anything serious is supposed to go to Belmopan in the planned new system. The POLYCLINIC is only for first aid. A referral place if they can't handle it. No beds will be there to treat patients.
Well on Wednesday, with one frazzled doctor working a 14 hour day and a couple of nurses, the EMERGENCY ROOM tried to cope. Two patients were dying. An internal operation on one was necessary immediately, yet all three beds in the emergency room were busy and two more sitting around anxiously in need of serious help, another person having a spontaneous abortion, all at the same time. It wasn't INDIA, or CHINA, but just a busy day in the TWIN TOWNS government hospital, that serves an out district population, half of the size of ALL of Belize. The really dying patient, was supposed to go by ambulance to Belmopan, but in a phone call, they had no surgeon. So a call to KMH said they must send the person there. A little over a 2 hour van ride, when to the dying patient TIME was critical. Never heard if the patient made it alive or not though? No time to do a follow up. An immediate operation was necessary and it wasn't available either in the TWIN TOWNS, or in Belmopan. The facilities didn't exist.
Staff of the Government Hospital out West here, say they need more beds and they need a regular hospital to serve the estimated 80,000 to 130,000 population throughout the many towns and villages of Western Belize. It almost seems ludicrous not to have a full fledged hospital capable of doing operations. Money is short of course, so from a financial point of view, maybe the politicians have it right. Send everybody to KMH down on the coast a couple of hours drive away. If the patient lives that long? If not, just the luck of the draw. TOO BAD for you!
People are going to die of course, and as the growing population out here in Western Belize overtakes that of the port town in size, the question of where a CENTRAL HOSPITAL should be located, because of scarce money, perhaps should be revisited? The system we have is not working. The solution of the new PLAN with DISTRICT POLYCLINICS is not going to work either, that is obvious from Wednesday. At least in the case of Western Belize heavily populated, with many rapidly growing towns, not counting villages and industrial and agriculture HEARTLAND, versus the KMH down serving the port town on the coast. Just one small town.
Compromises must be reached of course. Mostly it is not that one would not want to serve the population centers, but it is about available money. Difficult choices! What I can say from a Western Belize perspective, is that the TWIN TOWNS need a real hospital, with a surgical room for operations and wards with beds. Treating this size population out here like an outpatient clinic is no longer cutting it. The population is growing too fast and the towns are swelling with population also. We need better and we deserve better. The question is how to get it? THAT of course is why we elect politicians.

No comments: