Is Jose Luis Espat Uc Practicing Medicine Illegally?

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Updated: June 26, 2017

For some time now we have been observing comments made on social media by aspiring politician, Jose Luis Espat Uc regarding his profession.  On one known occasion, he had noted on television that he is a neurosurgeon and that he had resigned from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.  Love News got an opportunity today to speak with the Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero on Espat’s status with the Belize Medical Board and the Ministry of Health.  According to Dr Manzanero, Espat has absolutely no documents on file suggesting that he did complete his medical studies or that he is really a doctor.

DR MARVIN MANZANERO

Well I know that some questions started to come to my desk, those things happened before I came to the office of Director of Health Services. I did ask at the KHMH board meeting last week Thursday because as I said that was before I came on board. He was actually never an employee of the hospital as far as I am aware. He has never been an employee of the Ministry of Health as a doctor as far as I am aware or as far as we could find and I checked with the medical council as well, he had never presented any request to the medical council or there is no record of him ever having requested anything in writing where he was seeking a medical license to be a doctor so there is no record or paper trail at the medical council where he requested that. What I was made to understand in speaking to some of the doctors who may have interacted with him in the time when he was at Karl Heusner was that he was there on a volunteer basis shadowing a couple of doctors and I believe he never presented paperwork and that was the reason he was asked to leave. That is what we have been able to gather at the Ministry of Health because we were asked but we don’t have any record of Mr.Espat having presented himself as a doctor or us having employed him as a doctor nor does the medical council seem to be aware of him ever presenting any paperwork for him as a medical doctor.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

So when he says because one of his arguments in a message that he sent to me last week was that he was never fired from KHMH, that he actually resigned so in effect what you are saying is that there couldn’t have been a resignation because he was never on staff?”

DR MARVIN MANZANERO

That was what I was made to understand and he probably would not have been fired also because he was not on staff, if he was a volunteer he was probably just asked to leave.”

According to a Facebook post on April 1, Espat wrote that he does not need to be a registered physician to be a doctor or to provide free medical services to persons. It seems this is what Espat has been doing as one person posted a thank you to Espat for a medical prescription that he got had given to someone.  Dr Manzanero told Love News that Espat has not requested a medical license to practice medicine in Belize and that there is a process to undergo prior to getting a license.

DR MARVIN MANZANERO

The answer is pretty clear cut if you finish medical school anywhere outside of Belize you bring your paperwork, you come in for an interview process if you have completed your internship you get your full license, if you are a Belizean and you are able to work if you did not complete an internship then you will be asked to complete one in Belize and once you complete that you have a full license to practice once you are a Belizean. There is no, I don’t know that there has been anyone that has been told that they can’t exercise to be a doctor if they have completed their due course work.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

No but what am saying is that do you make verification at for example if I come from a university in Guatemala would you clarify or ascertain that yes that I did receive my degree?”

DR MARVIN MANZANERO

There is a particular process; you will recall that most of the doctors are on scholarship so there is an easier way of monitoring them but that is part of the process that now happens. Most doctors coming back to Belize are asked to do an internship as well. I believe there are a couple of doctors that have not completed their internships so they are not able to get a license and there is a reason why that happens but there is a verification process particularly if you are a foreigner before you are given a license by the medical council.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

So in the case of Mr.Espat he never requested a license?”

DR MARVIN MANZANERO

The medical council doesn’t seem to have that record.”

Love News had asked Espat to respond to the allegation that he is posing as a doctor but the only thing he would say is that he would sue if we defame his character and the documents will be shown via his attorney.