A Jamaican couple is hoping that an emergency fund-raising campaign will generate enough money to send their newborn to Miami where she can receive specialist care.
Jad and Carlisea Gilzene’s daughter, Jo-Anna, was born prematurely at Cayman Islands Hospital 29 July at just 24 weeks and weighing only 1 lb. 7 oz. Doctors believe the best outcome would be to transfer her to a specialist hospital in Miami, where she can receive an even higher level of care.
‘They’re trying to do the best they can, but it would be better in Miami, where they deal with these cases on a regular basis,’ Mr. Gilzene said.
The couple’s insurance policy only covers up to CI$25,000, but Mr. Gilzene was told that it would cost at least US$650,000 to care for Jo-Anna.
‘We just need all the help we can get. I really love this child. Whatever help we can get, I’d really appreciate it,’ he said.
Shirline Henriques, acting Chief Executive Officer of the Health Services Authority, explained Jo-Anna’s situation.
‘We had to put her back on the ventilator. She needs to be in a high-dependency environment. We are talking about a baby that needs around-the-clock attention.
‘We have other cases, so it is really difficult for us. We are really stretched with the requirements she has,’ Mrs. Henriques said.
In addition, she wants to see changes in how insurance companies operate to prevent a situation like the one Mr. and Mrs. Gilzene find themselves in.
‘The onus needs to be placed on insurance companies to be more responsible when they’re taking people’s money. They should not have policies with minimal coverage because this is what happens. Nobody can predict what’s going to happen with their health,’ she said.
Mr. Gilzene, 43, an auto painter, and Mrs. Gilzene, 40, a domestic helper, are on work permits here. Jo-Anna is the couple’s first child.
Elaine Harris, consular officer at the Jamaican Consulate, said that they started the campaign so that Jo-Anna could be sent to Miami. The hospitals in Jamaica do not have the necessary staff or equipment to care for Jo-Anna, according to Ms Harris.
‘Things are still critical. The doctors feel that the baby’s best chance is in a hospital in Miami,’ she said.
Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Gilzene continue to sit with Jo-Anna and hope for the best.
‘I have to keep encouraging my wife. Sometimes she breaks down. If the doctors do something and she feels like the baby is in pain, she breaks down,’ he said.
Two Cayman National Bank accounts have been set up for donations for Jo-Anna: USD A/C# 022-16019 or KYD A/C# 012-25246. For more information, contact Elaine Harris at 949-9526 or email [email protected].