7 News Belize

A Breath of Hope
posted (April 22, 2010)
Mechanical ventilators are life saving machines, which breathe for those who cannot. Presently the KHMH has 14 of them – 7 of those are for the pediatric and neo-natal unit. Four of those were received today in a donation from the Medical Care Group in California.

7news was there for the donation and Head of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Dr. Egbert Grinage, explained that where there are ventilators, there is life:


Dr Egbert Grinage, Head of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
“Before this program started 10 years ago, children would die if they had respiratory failure – they stop breathing – they would hand ventilate them but that was not really optimal, that was very primitive. Ten years ago we got two donations, I think it was from Duke University or East Carolina, and Katie and Lilian Fifer activated those ventilators. And then she came two years later bearing the first gifts of the VIP Birds, regular VIP Birds. And those ventilators, from then until now have formed the mainstay of and have saved hundreds of lives, kids who stopped breathing for whatever reason, whether its newborn, prematurely newborn infection, to whether its an older child who has been knocked down or has severe asthma or pneumonia. These ones are more sophisticated because the patient can breathe easier on them. Nowadays, ventilation is all about making the patient feel comfortable and these ventilators will allow us to treat these patients better. I think it will give us better outcomes. So we have 7 ventilators all together.”

Katie Sabato, Respiratory Therapist
”We are a group of medical missionary individuals called Medical Care for Children of All Races Everywhere. We have an Internet site. We welcome donations from all around the US and I use the term that one person’s old stuff is gold to someone else, particularly the people and babies of Belize.”

“Although I would say that these ventilators are certainly still state-of-the-art and will be functional for many years. 10 years later, here, as I said earlier, it is remarkable the success that has taken place here at the Karl Heusner. When a baby is born now, they have the total opportunity to survive and that’s not something that was possible 10 years ago.”


That was Respiratory Therapist, Katie Sabato who started the programme ten years ago in November of 2000 with Lilian Fifer.

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