Editorial: Two things we can make happen in San Pedro Town

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

There are two things in our community of 18,000+ people that we are sorely missing here in San Pedro…an ambulance and a morgue.

Why is this need so apparent to me? How many times have we seen injured people thrown haphazardly into the back of a police truck or onto a golf cart and rushed to the doctor or clinic? Who knows what further damage is caused while they are being improperly transported, not to mention the exposure to the elements such as blaring heat, rain, wind and dust. Adding insult to injury, there is no sense of privacy as the injured, maimed or ailing individual is paraded through town for all those to see. How hard would it be to transport the ill and wounded in a more efficient and effective manner?

A used taxi van could be easily converted into an ambulance by simply pulling out the seats, installing a surface for a stretcher and stocking it with essential emergency medical supplies. With some community fundraising, this affordable mobile emergency unit could be donated to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II for use when needed by the doctors on call. Not only could the vehicle serve as an ambulance, but in cases of fatalities the van could be used to transport bodies.

Currently bodies are disrespectfully hauled in the back of trucks, crudely wrapped in whatever cloth can be found and hauled to the police station where it waits in the heat of San Pedro until transported to Belize City. This can take hours, even days before the deceased is removed. Not only does decomposition soon begin, but vital pathological evidence is lost as well. Autopsies and determining the cause of death can become very difficult once this process begins.

I am not an expert in any way when it comes to properly caring for the dead, but any one knows what heat and humidity can do to speed the natural breakdown of a body. Why wouldn’t a small, airtight room with an air conditioning unit turned on extra cool work to help preserve a body before transport? Even a good sized closet equipped with a couple long shelves and an AC would work, and it would certainly be better than the nothing we currently have. The expense of running the AC would only be when the room was in use. It is logical that this makeshift morgue would be housed at the PolyClinic…and again, a community fundraising effort to make it a reality would not have to be cost prohibitive.

Sure we all see where changes and improvements need to me made, and some of them seem insurmountable, like installing a new water and sewer system in the heart of San Pedro. But these two badly needed HUMAN SERVICES can be provided easily and at a minimal cost. Let us as a community work together in making this happen, we have all had a time when we wished for this service, and there WILL be a time our friends, family and even our selves may come to depend on an ambulance, and sadly even a morgue. We all want the best for our loved ones, and these two necessities are what we all deserve and need.

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