On Thursday, 23 November, 2006, my daughter Nancy Porter went into the George Town Hospital. By Friday, 24 November, she became an emergency patient who had to be flown off Island for more sophisticated medical facilities.
Her condition was so unstable, that she could not be flown lo Florida, the usual default, as the trip would have been too lengthy.
Instead, Nancy was flown to the University Hospital of the West Indies, Jamaica
This letter is about the efforts made here in Grand Cayman by Mrs. Donna Lewis and Dr. Gerald Smith. The former to ensure that the airlift took place expeditiously and efficaciously and the latter, in giving outstanding emotional support and encouragement; both operating, I’m sure, well outside the parameters of their official job descriptions.
With no time for delay, Donna managed to arrange for a police clearance certificate and the issuance of a Jamaican Visa for me to accompany Nancy to Jamaica. Her natural charm and prior positive association with the relevant departments, persuaded personnel to (literally) return to their desks/offices, in order to expedite the necessary documentation – no small task on a Friday evening.
Donna continued her diligence even whilst we were in Jamaica giving of her own personal time (Sunday afternoon on a few occasions).
Not to be outdone, Dr. Smith was available 24/7 speaking to medical personnel in Jamaica on our behalf as well as to me personally. He returned every one of my panic calls initiating intervention where necessary and reverting to me with much needed assurances. Anyone who has had a similar experience would relate to this narrative and be cognizant of the desperation, fear and confusion that ensue in such circumstances and in particular, to the horrors of miscommunication of even the lack thereof.
I began to think of Dr. Smith as a man with a halo. The level of his patience was matched only by his concern. Additionally, for the entire period of Thursday, 23 November, 2006, to Tuesday, 9 January, 2007, the date of Nancy’s return to Grand Cayman, Mrs. Lewis remained on call.
This tardy commendation, as recuperation and return to life’s mundane hassle encroach on one’s time, is nevertheless of no less value and had to be written. No one should give as much as Mr. Lewis and Dr. Smith contributed and remain unrecognised. Following her near-death experience Nancy made a full recovery, a miracle that began with the actions of these two beautiful individuals.
Laurel Di Bernardo