Baby Ariah closer to surgery, but...
Funds raised, still no hospital dateSunday, October 10, 2021
BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Ariah Turner, the now one-year-old girl whose mother recently made an appeal for help, is well on her way to receiving the anal reconstructive surgery she needs to live a normal life, said the toddler's mother, Tashoy Brown.
“I am very grateful that the Jamaica Observer published the story. At first I was hesitant about the story going out there but I must say I am thankful that I was able to reach the goal,” she said.
“I never thought that, by putting the story out there I would reach the goal that quickly. I was [able] to reach the goal in about two weeks after the story was published,” Brown continued.
The “goal” being referred to is the $735,000 quotation she received from The Barnett Clinic Surgery & Dermatology Centre in Montego Bay for the reconstructive surgery to be done, as young Ariah was born without an anus.
Brown told the Sunday Observer that she is overwhelmed with gratitude after receiving assistance in the form of monetary donations and encouragement from good Samaritans across the island and overseas.
“I am very thankful for the love and support that everyone has shown. I must say a big thank you in particular to [attorney] Able Don Foote for going above and beyond for my baby girl. A special thank you to all who reached out, my work family, past co-workers, and just everyone who contributed, whether it was financially or through encouraging words,” she said.
But, as the mother celebrates her daughter being one step closer to “living a normal life”, the uncertainty of the surgery date, the same hurdle she stumbled upon in the public hospital system, poses another setback.
“What I am waiting on now is for the surgery to get done, because I have the money. So, basically, I am waiting on the doctor. He told me that due to the pandemic and the oxygen shortage across the island, he has been faced with difficulties, so he has to be curtailing his surgeries,” she told the Sunday Observer.
“So that is holding us up now, and we are not able to proceed at the moment to get the surgery done,” she continued.
Throughout this whole ordeal, Brown said, young Ariah, who celebrated her first birthday on September 10, remains a happy baby.
“Apart from the fact that the [waste] is still being passed through her [vaginal cavity], she is still a playful child. But I am just keeping close eyes on her, so in the event of any emergencies I will just run with her. And I keep updating the doctor on her condition,” said the mother.
In a previous interview with the Sunday Observer, Brown shared that she was immediately faced with grief after learning that the child she had just given birth to was born without an anus.
“Every mother goes through labour expecting that when their child comes out the child will be okay. Well, unfortunately, that wasn't the case for me,” she said then.
Brown added: “You know that after birth you are very tired, so I [fell] asleep, but I remember that I went to look for my baby and they said that I couldn't go in the room, I have to wait for a doctor. I asked why, but nobody was willing to give me any information. When the doctor finally came, they said that the baby does not have an anal opening. My whole world shattered.”
Little Ariah received her first surgery at only 12 days old, where an opening was made on her abdomen to ensure that she can pass waste. This is a short-term fix that now appears to be losing its effectiveness.
The child now requires two additional surgeries to correct this severe birth defect.
“After the second surgery is done, a final surgery will be scheduled six weeks after. I did not get an exact figure for what that will cost but, whenever [that bridge] comes, I'll cross it. Right now I am just waiting for them to reconstruct her anus so it can heal and then they will close the opening that is now on her abdomen so she can start passing stool through her anus,” Brown told the Sunday Observer.