Family blames ambulance service for death of loved one

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Kenya Barona

On Friday, March 12, 2021, there was a medical emergency on Supaul Street, Belize City and the family of Kenya Barona, who was suffering from breathing complications, quickly called for an ambulance. Unfortunately for Barona and her friends and family, the ambulance would not arrive on time and she passed away at home. These series of events has caused her family to make a serious allegation against the Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) who were responsible for getting the ambulance there on time. They say that simply because BERT was uncertain if they would be able to pay a $20 fee, they were slow in arriving there and that cost the life of their loved one.
34-year-old Kenya Barona was at home when she suddenly fell, supposedly because of a spike in her blood pressure, and her family was quick to make the emergency call. Their accounts state that they called 911 and that they promised to send over an ambulance. Seeing that the ambulance was taking some time to respond, they again called the police who said that they had already sent for it. They asked for a number on which the family could be contacted when the ambulance was close. Still, it never arrived but they instead got a phone call from BERT who informed them that they needed to answer some questions. This caused the family to become excessively worries since Barona was already losing consciousness. It was at this time that they asked what exactly was wrong with Barona and asked if the family knew about the $20 fee. As one of Barona’s friends explained, she became irate and asked that they just show up.
Again, they did not and while a police mobile did come to transport Barona to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, she was pronounced dead on arrival. The family was not shy about their allegations against BERT and on the following day, BERT made their own release. They informed the public how their emergency hotline works as well as their standard procedures and denied any claim that they have ever failed to respond to a patient who was unable to pay their fees.
A post mortem is being conducted to determine Barona’s cause of death.