The authorities at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital said Wednesday that half of the recent neonatal deaths was due to an infection, but former KHMH CEO, Dr. Alvaro Rosado, blames an apparent breakdown in communication at the hospital.
Following the report of twelve neonatal deaths at its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the hospital presented its preliminary findings, saying that seven of the twelve deaths were due to a bacteria called, Enterobacter Cloacae.
However, in a Thursday morning interview, the former Dr. Rosado said that there was a clear breakdown in how the cases were handled and that is what undoubtedly led to so many deaths in such a short period of time, before any action was taken.
Rosado said that the first line of action would have been, as was required under his watch, a daily report of everything that happens throughout the hospital.
The hospital said that it sees roughly five neonatal deaths per month. Rosado said that from the first instance that deaths exceeded that standard number, in any particular week, it should have prompted both the management and the administration to take action.
When asked what he would have done if it had happened under his watch, he said that he would have summoned his team of experts and followed a plan of action at their recommendations.
He said that shutting down the unit would have been an immediate response and necessary swabbing and sanitization ordered while the samples were being tested.
Rosado said it was grossly surprising to hear that the administration found out about the problem when it became news on the media.
He said that when he was the CEO five years ago, there was a stringent system in place whereby each head of department would report to his/her superior and those managers report to him each morning.
The fact that the deaths were not reported to anyone and that no action was taken until so many cases had been reported shows that something is seriously amiss at the KHMH, he said.
The former CEO does not blame any one individual, and avoided doing that.
He said that there are specific questions that everyone should ask the hospital: when the second baby died in the same week, what did the person in charge do?
Why was no action taken after that other baby died? And, why was the CEO not informed when the deaths were occurring?
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, said Rosado, was the pride and joy of not only Belize, but the region when he was there, because of the high level of care that it offered and the stringent security features that it maintained.
Whether those practices have been relaxed, he said, should be another avenue for investigation.
Dr. Rosado agreed that problems of this nature happen in even state of the art hospital units around the world, but the failure he said is that there appeared to be no communication or there was no immediate action taken to prevent the rest of the babies from dying.
Dr. Rosado says he is offering his vast knowledge free of cost to assist in the investigations.