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Director of Health Services says safety protocols will be re-examined after violent attack

Collin Francis is the mentally disabled man who violently attacked Nurse Augustina Elijio at the Port Loyola Health Clinic on June four. He was charged with attempted murder of Elijio after he stabbed her. Two days later on the six, Francis attacked Nestor Vasquez junior inside holding cell 2 at the Eastern Division police station in Belize City. Vasquez died from the injuries sustained to his head.  These two incidents have brought the safety of medical practitioners and the public when addressing people who are suffering from mental disabilities that make them a danger to the public and themselves. The Director of Health Service says that the Central Health Region had asked the DHS to address the issue and he promised that they will re-examine the safety protocols at different clinics.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero – Director of Health Services: “I think there are protocols in place in terms of how you engage patients but before we get to mental health patients I think there are protocols in terms of how you address patients on a whole in terms of who should be in a room with you wherever you are in any physical examination. In this particular case I guess we are referring to the incident that brought this last week, protocols were again reviewed, particularly at Port Loyola, that was on the day after, that people from the Central Health Region, some of our nursing staff from headquarters to see what it is that we can change. We are cognizant however that it is not going to be that easy to just defend against particular and isolated cases so wherever we can we are going to go back and review that. Perhaps there were notions or perhaps having a metal detector, vamping up the security measures in general but I must say that has been voiced by the Central Health Region Staff particularly, not only in relation to this incident but prior this so it is something that we are working on continuously. I think a good relationship with the police, I know training has happened in terms of how you handle mental health cases but perhaps it not as comprehensive as you would want. It should be ongoing because usually they are going to be the front line personnel that are called whenever there is a mental situation or you might not know it is a mental case until you go and find out exactly what is happening on the ground so I think we are open to discussing further with the police. I know when we had items around gender-based violence years ago we also had some surveillance system and mechanisms with them. I am aware of what was mentioned by the Commissioner, I believe yesterday so that is something we will look at jointly. In terms of medication, I do know that there was some lapse in terms of when medications were going to be here at the beginning of the year. I don’t know, that is currently the situation at the Ministry of Health.”

In regards to the death of Nestor Vasquez junior, Collin Francis was additionally charged with attempted murder.