Five days ago for an estimated three hours Corporal David Jimenez laid inside an ambulance in the parking lot at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital awaiting access to medical attention. Reports are that Jimenez left his home in the ambulance just before six o’clock last Wednesday morning and got into the hallway of the KHMH just before nine o’clock and passed away within half hour after. At the time of his passing Jimenez was still awaiting his results from a Covid-19 tests but was displaying symptoms. Speaking on the matter that has left many outraged, WAs the Police Commissioner Chester Williams
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “It is indeed an unfortunate situation where the police officer began experiencing breathing problems some time around 6am. BERT were called in, they responded quickly, ferried the officer to the KHMH and upon arrival there he was refused access to the KHMH where he could have received treatment. Now we’re not going to say had he received the treatment or some treatment from KHMH he would have survived but the fact of the matter is that he died outside in the ambulance and that ought not to have occurred. From what I was briefed by Mr.Staine from BERT who responded was that they waited outside for over three hours and despite their continued request for the officer to go in to receive treatment he was denied. The BERT personnel tried their utmost best to try to give the officer oxygen and to keep him alive but that failed and the officer subsequently died and so I have talked with the Minister of Health and again it is something that the KHMH administration need to look into because hospital authority do have an obligation by law to ensure that they treat patients who come to them irrespective of the situation so we need to see how better can be done because not just because it’s a police but anybody who goes to the hospital it is expected that the hospital is going to provide them with the treatment that they need with a view to see how we can provide. Police officers are front line people. We’re out there every day doing our job, we’re meeting some times hundreds of persons per day and we’re pretty much exposed to the virus and so the least you can do is to ensure that whenever we’re infected and we go to the hospital to seek attention that we’re given the level of attention we deserve as front line officers and that is all we ask from health institutions.”
When it comes to the current supply of testing kits in the country Prime Minister Briceno noted that the government is in the process of acquiring more inventory. For now, however, he says there are sufficient in supply. But, being tested is one thing, treatment and the accommodations at the hospital are other factors that seem to be lacking especially over the last two weeks. Love News has learnt of three separate cases where Covid-19 patients have spent hours in the hospital’s parking lot waiting for medical attention. With all that said, however, the Prime Minister has chalked up the situation to a lack of communication.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Again, what is happening is that one of the things that I found out today that we set up protocols but it stays there it does not go from say Karl Huesner to Northern Regional or Southern Regional so that people get there and now they’re waiting there to get attention. For instance now they have some mobile oxygen tanks so that when you come and you need attention they can go right out there in the parking lot to be able to start to give you oxygen once they start the process to get you in. Apparently because of the database that the health system has it’s a fairly extensive one and so they have to enter a lot of data and sometimes they take too long so again we have to reconfigure that probably just civilians entering in the data while the doctors are starting to really look at you clinically to make sure what kind of attention you need so that we can do this much quicker. We do have to do a lot of changes on how to be able to respond way quicker than we’ve been responding before.”
Corporal David Jimenez was attached to Precinct Three in Belize City. He was in the news a few months ago for receiving an award of excellence. He is the second police officer to die this year from Covid-19 related complications. The first to pass away was 25-year-old Elsner Medina who died early November and was diagnosed post mortem.