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The KHMH Reaches Critical Point of Capacity

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is full at the KHMH with eight persons on the side awaiting space in the ICU. It is an alarming situation that the hospital brought to the public’s attention over the weekend via a press release. Aside from having to deal with the 28 Covid-19 patients the nurses and doctors at the KHMH also had to deal with four gunshot victims and eleven labour deliveries. Further discussions with Dr Adrian Coye, the Director of Medical Services at the facility dived into some of the numbers the KHMH is facing.

Dr.Adrian Coye, Director, Medical Service, KHMH: “We had fifty six admissions to the hospital this weekend and eleven deliveries, ten emergency surgeries. We saw more than fifty patients in accident and emergency so care continued for all categories of patients and unfortunately our adult ICU – which has a capacity of six – we have six ventilated in the adult ICU plus the emergencies that came over that weekend, we have two other patients intubated being ventilated in different parts of the hospital. So the adult ICU is beyond capacity. Nevertheless we do find areas to accommodate patients as best we can. Where COVID has continued to wreak havoc on us we have had only two days where we had close to twenty as our admissions in COVID related patients. So this weekend it was looking favorable in the morning yesterday no so bad but within a few hours we had at least seven admissions and very quickly that put us to a number of twenty eight COVID related cases of which twenty two are positive. We have four ventilated, four on high flow and each of those patients are actually considered critical patients and therefore imagine then your needs for critical care just doubling almost immediately in a short period of time. And of course that led to our concern and expressing the concern is that we are not able to just take within that period of time anymore critical patients. If they came we would still try to find a way as we have always done because we have peaked as much as thirty one patients COVID related but COVID related also means patients who are POI patients as well and POI patients the spaces that we have for those patients are not in a big amount it’s about seven or eight spaces that we have and each of those patients are actually isolated because yet we do not have their diagnosis confirmed and as as result we have to have them isolated but that was one of the bigger concerns yesterday because then patients under investigation spaces were exceeded as well. This morning we have space but only one for COVID and one for POI.”

Dr Coye goes on to explain that Belize is currently experiencing a ‘raging community spread’ and that is making the situation even more challenging at the KHMH.

Dr.Adrian Coye, Director, Medical Service, KHMH: “This is a recurring thing for us where each day we’re trying to make space for other patients who may have to come and therefore yesterday was a critical point where we didn’t want patients being transferred from a far afield if they could have been managed there then have that done so that we have an ability to decompress hopefully within twenty four hours or make it favorable for our staff. Taking more patients will make it unsafe for care of our patients that are already there. So we have a limit and we’ve been saying that recurrently. This problem has not been one week, it has not been this weekend it’s been sustained for almost six weeks now.”

Reporter: What about deaths ? Any COVID related deaths over the weekend ? 

Dr.Adrian Coye, Director, Medical Service, KHMH: “Well I really am not comfortable to discussing deaths because it will happen and we did have at least one but the point is that sever COVID is almost a medical futility and that’s why whatever can be done to avoid anyone being in the position of having severe COVID, whatever can be done to prevent that we would very much like that to be done. There is no cure for COVID no matter that they have other types of conditions- different modalities or therapies that are coming up to say yes this is going to give good outcomes etc there is no cure and prevention is probably the best at this point in our setting because whatever magic bullets are out there available in other first world settings it will take forever to reach us to have the impact that we need to have which is right now where we are in the presence of a raging community spread.”

As for the wellbeing of the workers at the KHMH, Love News understands that there is a very high percentage of vaccinated workers. Dr Coye notes that to date although some staff members have contracted the virus there have been no deaths among the hospital personnel.

Dr.Adrian Coye, Director, Medical Service, KHMH: “From the time we’ve had the pandemic we’ve had members of staff who have come down with COVID. We are very grateful that none had developed severe COVID. It is the reason why we made an extra effort in our campaign when the vaccines became available to have more than 90% of our staff being protected and I believe that this is helped a lot of our staff to – yes they may have gotten COVID especially because of community spread again they get it in contact with other family members at home etc or in the street but nevertheless they have not developed severe COVID and we’re very grateful for that.”