Asthmatic man rescued from hilly home - But not out of the woods yet
In the midst of heavy rains on the weekend, more than 20 residents from Tower Hill and its neighbouring communities in rural St Andrew rallied together to give 42-year-old Osbourne Henry a fighting chance to get to hospital.
Henry, who has since been admitted to The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), started having an asthma attack about 10 p.m. Friday. However, due to landslides caused by heavy rains, no vehicle could access his home to take him to the hospital. As a result, getting help for Henry was a stressful experience.
His sister Annecia Simon, a resident of Mavis Bank, told THE STAR that she learnt of her brother's condition at 4:26 a.m. Saturday morning when her cousin called and informed her that he was struggling to breathe.
"It was really rough and traumatising to know that him can lose him life at any time, to know that him fighting life, him out a breath, him fighting," Simon said. She added that in her quest to get her brother help, she first reached out to her local police.
"I reached out to Gordon Town [Police Station] for assistance ... to see how far they could come because a section of the road by Coffee Walk was blocked. So they couldn't come," Simon said, adding that her brother's condition was critical.
"His lungs were under great pressure because it was from like 10 o'clock in the night to after 7 in the morning for him to get help," she said.
"I do practical in the morgue so I know what it is like to have bad lungs. It was really rough to know that you're fighting for your life asking for help and can't get no help," said Simon who is studying forensic pathology said.
Esther Warner Dixon, Henry's godmother, told THE STAR that she was in bed at the time when he fell ill, but after hearing that her godson was struggling to breathe, she knew she had to do all she could to get officials to help. However, help took hours to arrive.
"He could hardly breathe, so luckily we have two young nurses in the area that just finish training. So they were there nebulising him and all a that trying to help him," Warner Dixon said.
"The citizens, oh God, we had to be working long nights because we have the two little nurses working to save life, save life. We were hard at work in the community," she said. With the police unable to assist, Warner Dixon tried to contact the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), hoping that personnel from its Air Wing could help. They were able to get to him on Saturday morning. The residents' fears, which were heightened during the wait for assistance, was now allayed, and they could not help but to celebrate the safe landing of the helicopter. JDF personnel, with the help of residents, got Henry into the helicopter where he was airlifted to the UHWI.
"From the helicopter lift up, we start to worship and give God thanks. We had a prayer meeting in the square because it was a hard work," Warner Dixon said.
However, Simon said that Henry is not out of the woods, as doctors had to induce a coma as he awoke in a panic and started to rip out his IV tubes.