COVID robbing 2-y-o of space in ICU

July 07, 2020

Ardrene Edwards has had to watch helplessly as her son Jayden Donaldson has been fighting for his life.

The boy has been in the hospital for the past year and a half and has been a frequent patient at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) since the age of seven months.

Jayden, now two, is currently in a critical condition at the hospital, and, according to Edwards, has desperately needed a ventilator for three weeks. However, she was told that there is no available space in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

"They (doctors) have been trying to find ICU space here for him at UHWI and they can't get any because of the whole coronavirus thing. Things kinda unstable. He's on a machine now to help him breathe, but it is not as effective as the ventilator would be," Edwards told THE STAR.

In recalling her son's medical history, the Cedar Grove, St Catherine, resident says that after she picked him up from daycare in September 2018, she realised that he had a runny nose and a fever.

"I took him down to Bustamante (Hospital for Children) and he was there for nine days. He was discharged and we took him to UWI hospital with severe seizures. They sent him home and said that he was okay. They took him back in for two days to do a review and on the second day when we were supposed to take him back home, he woke up having severe seizures. They said that he had pneumonia and he wasn't being treated for it properly," she recalled.

Last November, Jayden returned to UHWI because of a chest infection. The following month, he was readmitted because of severe pneumonia.

"He spent five months here last year and left in May. He was diagnosed with a so-called minor brain disorder and epilepsy. The five months he was here, he was lagging behind. He was starting to delay... he stopped rolling over. He was trying to sit up before and he stopped all of that. He was just laying in the bed doing nothing," she said.

Losing weight

The worried mother says her son was losing weight and because of his chest cold, he couldn't keep down food.

"He was one year old and weighing the same amount as a newborn baby, that's like six pounds," she said. Jayden's parents made arrangements with the senior doctor on the ward to get a letter so he could be treated overseas.

"We made arrangements with the doctors overseas, called and sorted out everything. We called UHWI for like a month or two straight, and they kept saying 'next week'. We already paid for it and we couldn't get it. We still have the receipt and everything," she said.

More than a year later, they still haven't received the letter.

"I've been having some severe panic attacks. My chest is getting tight and I can't breathe. He wouldn't have been in this situation if we had gotten the letter from last year. I was supposed to get two letters, one for the doctors and one for the embassy," she said.

But Kevin Allen, CEO for the UHWI told THE STAR that he is unaware of a letter request.

"I have no information on the letter that she has requested. But we'll always facilitate our patients seeking help elsewhere. I am sure my team would provide such a letter," he said. Allen noted that Jayden is "being managed by a team with optimal resources at our disposal".

"We know the patient well. We do not have enough ICU beds to admit everyone who needs this type of care. My heart goes out to the family. These are tough times. COVID-19 has caused us to significantly change the way we manage this facility," he said.

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