By Marion Ali
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has turned over a case of a piece of stolen surgical equipment to the police to investigate and has sent out alerts to its counterparts in Quintana Roo, Mexico, after it has disappeared without a trace.
The piece of equipment, worth at least $22,000, was stolen about three weeks ago from the Corozal Community Hospital before the hospital opened its state-of-the-art operating theatre. The theatre, which costs between $800,000 and $1 million, was opened to alleviate the overload for life-saving surgeries at the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk and the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City.
The Ministry of Health’s Northern Regional Manager, Guadalupe Longsworth told the Reporter on Thursday that the Ministry has narrowed its list of suspects to a few persons and has forwarded all pertinent information on the matter to the police for further investigation.
“We have not traced it yet. It was in the [theatre] unit, which was locked and not many people had access to it, but work was still ongoing to finish the unit”, Longsworth told us.
She said the piece of equipment is small enough for one person to have been able to remove without drawing attention. She explained that the piece is only useful to persons who work in an operating theatre, since it is used to make incisions on the human body.
The theatre will conduct its first surgery this month, but Longsworth explained that the missing piece will not affect surgeries, since the operating theatre has two fully-equipped units, which are not usually in use simultaneously, so equipment from one can be used in the other.
If the stolen piece of equipment is not recovered, the hospital will have to go through the entire process all over again to submit to the Ministry of Health, under the next government,a request for a replacement.