Jamaican consulate investigating CAL birth

The Jamaican Consul, Robert Hamaty, has initiated a full investigation into circumstances leading to 19-year-old Shellesha Woodstock flying to Jamaica to deliver her baby after her water broke.

Jamaican Consul Robert Hamaty

Jamaican Consul Robert Hamaty

Ms Woodstock, who ended up having her child in flight on Cayman Airways last Tuesday, has claimed a doctor and nurse at the George Town Hospital told her to go to Jamaica to have her baby because it was too expensive in Cayman.

‘We’ve been getting bombarded with inquiries about this,’ Mr. Hamaty said.

The father of Ms Woodstock’s child, Laslin Clarke, had called the Jamaican Consulate’s Office to complain about the matter.

Mr. Hamaty said Mr. Clarke was asked to bring in a written complaint to initiate the investigation.

The story has created a stir both here and in Jamaica. On Saturday, the Jamaica Gleaner ran a story about the incident under the headline ‘Jamaican woman in labour kicked out of Cayman’.

Cayman’s Health Services has denied Ms Woodstock’s and Mr. Clarke’s account of the incident, saying they chose to travel off island to deliver the baby and requested a medical certificate allowing clearance by the airline to fly.

The HSA has stated one of its mandates is no one should be denied medical care.

‘As a government owned entity, the Health Services therefore has an obligation to provide medical care to all residents of the Cayman Islands regardless of nationality or ability to pay,’ it said in a press statement.

‘The Authority has in place arrangements to facilitate patients who are unable to pay immediately for care to receive medically necessary treatment and a financial plan worked out for ongoing payments.’

Ms Woodstock has said she never discussed finances with anyone at the hospital before she was told it would be too expensive to have the baby in Cayman. As an employee in the Cayman Islands, Ms Woodstock was required to have health insurance that would have at the very least covered 80 per cent of the costs of her hospital stay and 80 per cent of post-natal care for the newborn baby for a period of 30 days.

Although she had an insurance card with British American Insurance, the insurer would not say if the policy was still active. Ms Woodstock, who works as a domestic helper, said her employer paid the premiums.

Mr. Hamaty said he will report the findings of the Consulate’s investigation once it is completed.