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Rat bites newborn inside hospital incubator; DHS says new hospital needed in Belmopan

By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter

An ongoing rodent infestation intervention initiative at the Western Regional hospital in Belmopan reached a different level on Friday when medical officials at the facility discovered that a rat had entered a newborn’s incubator, undetected, and bitten the baby.

The incident happened early on Friday, just hours after the baby was born Thursday night and placed in the incubator. It has sparked the hospital’s administration to theorize that the rodent entered the maternity ward through a recently-created air conditioning vent that was not properly sealed. The rat then assumedly climbed through the incubator tube that is left open for easy human access to the newborn.

The Director of Health Services, Dr Ramon Figueroa has said that while the newborn has to undergo tests to determine if he contracted any disease from the rat-bite, he appears to be alright.

A pediatrician at the hospital has since taken over care of the child for the immediate short term; and it is unclear if the baby’s family will take up legal action against the hospital.

Figueroa says the latest incident indicates an urgent
need for a new hospital in Belmopan. He told the media on Friday that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has just completed an evaluation on the safety of the hospital and its infrastructural integrity. Figueroa said PAHO recommmended for the construction of a new hospital because of problems with leakage, electrical and drainage inefficiencies.

The shocking occurrence has put the hospital under another level of scrutiny because this is the second time in just a matter of months that the facility has shown it has a rat infestation problem. The hospital’s storeroom just recently underwent a facelift where a previous rat-control problem had occurred only months ago.

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