9-year-old Nickoi battling long list of illnesses
Anyone willing to assist Nickoi Ranger may make donations to National Commercial Bank May Pen branch using the account number 564859516.Thursday, July 22, 2021
MAY PEN, Clarendon — Nine-year-old Nickoi Ranger has been battling a long list of illnesses since he was six months old and, since then, almost every visit to the doctor comes with a new diagnosis worse than the one before, says his mother.
At six months old, Nickoi began showing signs of a bleeding disorder, his mother Nickeisha McLoud explained.
He would bleed from his eyes, there was also blood under his skin, in his urine and stool. A visit to the May Pen Hospital led to a referral to Bustamante Hospital for Children.
General practitioner at Hayman's Medical Centre, Dr Leroy Hayman, said he has seen the child who is in need of urgent medical care. “We have been trying to reach a diagnosis and in so doing we have referred the child to the Bustamante Hospital for Children for further assessment and care,” Hayman told the Jamaica Observer.
McLoud explained that her young son battles constant migraines, he is pre-diabetic, has high cholesterol, has suffered from memory loss since 2020 and was diagnosed with leukaemia last November.
“When he was diagnosed with leukaemia… he said, 'Mom, I don't feel like I am going to make it through this one because I am scared,' ” the 33-year-old McLoud shared.
“He also has a collagen vascular disease, where the immune system basically attacks its own skin, tissues and organs. With each test we realise that the number of white blood cells keeps decreasing, which is weakening his immune system. It is emotionally, physically and financially draining because not knowing what is happening, and him always being in pain is unsettling. Each time the doctors top up on his medication his condition keeps getting worse. It's frustrating not knowing what to do.”
Her son, she added, cannot play outside as he is unable to tolerate the rays of the sun. Still trying to give him as normal a life as possible, McLoud enrolled Nickoi in basic school when he was five years old. He was only able to attend for six months.
“By the time he started grade two he was shoved by another child and he fell and had to be rushed to the May Pen Hospital and was transferred to the Kingston Public Hospital for further treatment. I have had to be homeschooling him ever since,” she explained.
Forced to quit her job, as Nickoi requires constant care, and faced with millions of dollars in medical bills, McLoud now relies on financial support from family, friends and the kindness of strangers. From home, she also provides childcare for two young boys as a way of earning a modest income.
The stress of caring for her ailing child was compounded by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) queries about why he was not enrolled in school, she told the Observer.
“They came and said I had to pay $500,000 or spend six months in prison for taking the right of education from him. CPFSA returned to my house several weeks ago to say I have been abusing him because every time [doctors] reach a diagnosis I refuse to take him for his treatment and that is the reason why he is still sick. [They said] that is based on a letter they received from the May Pen Hospital.”
Luckily, McLoud was able to produce piles of receipts, test results, reports and appointment cards which verify that Nickoi is up to date with all his appointments.
In response, a CPSFA officer said that the hospital report did not match information on the appointment card. For now, it appears McLoud has won that battle with the CPFSA; now she is hoping Nickoi will be able to get the medical care he needs overseas.
“At this moment, I just want him to get the best care. So far, I'm not getting that at any of the two hospitals we have been going. I would like to get him overseas to get the health care that he needs so he can live a normal life going forward,” declared McLoud.
“I realise that the health-care system in Jamaica is not what we would like it to be because I've seen other children suffer. But, what hurts me the most is when his doctors say if he develops a slight fever I have to rush him to the nearest hospital, which is the May Pen Hospital, just for them to tell me that they are not equipped to deal with my son's condition. [It] is really heartbreaking because not everybody is fortunate enough to fly overseas to seek better health care. I think the system really needs to be upgraded to provide better health care for all,” McLoud added.
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