Can you help baby Ariah?
• 11-month-old needs surgery • Condition not deemed urgent enough during COVID spikeSunday, September 05, 2021
BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Born without an anus, 11-month-old Ariah Turner, who already had one surgery to treat her condition, now needs two more if she's ever to have a normal life.
But those procedures will have to wait, her mother Tashoy Brown said she's been told, as her baby's condition is not deemed urgent enough to be added to the list of surgeries allowed now that the country's health care system is overburdened with COVID-19 patients.
“I [have] been back and forth with her at the surgery clinic [at Cornwall Regional Hospital or CRH] and they are not giving me any date [for surgery]. They are saying that due to the pandemic, they are only doing emergency surgeries. They said they wouldn't consider [her situation] to be an emergency because she already has an opening where the stool is being passed from,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer.
The “opening” she referred to was made in her baby's abdomen 12 days after she was born — a short-term fix that now appears to be losing its effectiveness. Late last month, little Ariah's waste began passing though her vaginal cavity. According to Brown, the “very nice” paediatric surgeon at CRH assured her that she should not be unduly concerned about this; but the condition is getting worse and the distraught mother is worried that it “cannot be healthy”. She is desperately hoping her baby will be able to get the surgery she needs from a private doctor.
“The baby is growing, and I don't have much time. I need to get the surgery done,” Brown pleaded.
After consulting Barnett Clinic Surgery & Dermatology Centre in Montego Bay, she was given a invoice for $735,000 to do the anal reconstructive surgery that her child needs. She cannot afford it.
“Honestly to God, I don't have the money. Like, mi really sit down and mi stress out. I am currently working but the money nah go ever ketch up to say I can pay $735,000 out of pocket to go ahead and do the surgery. If I had it, I would most definitely go about doing the surgery for my baby,” she told the Sunday Observer.
“Mi bring mi daughter too far now for — worst case scenario — something [to] happen, and I lose her. So, that is the reason I chose this [public appeal for financial support] because honestly, mi run out of options right now. Any help, no matter how small it be, in the end it will all add up,” she appealed. “I want to get the surgery done as soon as possible.”
The family has been through a lot.
Brown will forever remember the day Ariah, her second child, was born — September 20, 2020. The joy of being a mother quickly evaporated when hospital staff broke the news of the baby's medical condition to her.
“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.
“You know that after birth you are very tired so I [fell] asleep, but I remember that I went to look for my baby [after waking up] 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,” Brown recounted.
She is hoping corrective surgery for little Ariah will help them put the pieces of their lives back together.
“I am just putting Ariah's story out there. So if anyone can help, it would be greatly appreciated,” the mother appealed.
Donations may be made to Tashoy Brown's NCB Baywest account. The account number is 435439098.