Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 16 September 2010 00:00

On Wednesday, September 15, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority celebrated its 15 year anniversary. The KHMHA opened its doors on September 15, 1995 and replaced the Belize City Hospital as the country’s flagship hospital. In honour of its 15th anniversary the   hospital is holding a series of events between September 12 and 15. The week kicked off on Sunday, September 12 with an ecumenical service.

A very important symposium was held on Monday, September 13, to discuss the past, present and future operations of the hospital. The Chief Executive Officer of KHMH, Dr. Gary Longsworth, gave an overview of the present status of the hospital. KHMH has a capacity of 134 beds, and four surgical suits as well as labor and delivery theaters, a 24/7 stat lab, weekend pharmacy services and over 25 specialists. He said that the institution is evolving and the most  difficult challenge has been driving  that commitment to development. Longsworth continued, “We are coming from a period where we had multiple problems. We have been successful on identifying those problems and now we are working on actually fixing them and moving forward.” He said that he has total confidence in the ability of the people around him to get the job done in accomplishing the goals of the institution.
According to the Director of Medical Services, Dr. Bernard Bulwer, the main goal is to develop the hospital to a standard that will make Belizeans proud. He said that the institution is 15 years old now and the celebration of its quinceaños means that it is time to mature. He said, “We should no longer be the subject of negative talk show chatter.” Bulwer said that there is a huge transformation taking place at the KHMH and it is all because residents, corporate citizens and international partners are playing larger roles in the development process. He said that  because of new partners the hospital will soon see a functioning dialysis  unit, an Accident and Emergency Department and it will boast modern cardiology capability.
The institution is also becoming more efficient with the use of technology. Ian Smith is an Information Technology Consultant at KHMH. At the symposium, he explained to the gathering that “accurate information helps to provide more efficient service”. He said that the Belize Health Information System has been crucial in service efficiency. There are over 289,000 individuals who have been registered on the system. One is registered whenever they access medical service. This  system helps in rapid patient identification. Instead of going through thousands of files, an individual’s medical history can now be acquired across the country with the touch of a few computer keys. Smith said, “We are getting rid of the data graveyard.”
There are many accomplishments to celebrate at the institution. However, there are still issues of concern. Recruiting nurses has been a challenge and there is still a shortage of nurses since people are now reluctant to serve the graveyard shift. Matron Palacio, Director of Nurses, said that they have developed a plan to recruit and retain nurses.

They are doing this by internal training and actively scouting external personnel; example, UB graduates. Dr. Bulwer said that one of the things he will stress is the importance of treating the nurses with more respect and gratitude. He said, “It will start at the administrative level. We have to show them that they are appreciated.”

Since its doors first opened in 1995, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital has cared for tens of thousands of patients. It was named in honor of Dr. Karl Heusner who was born in Belize on September 6, 1872 to German immigrant parents.