THE 39-year-old man who local health authorities last week said had tested positive for monkeypox has rubbished the health ministry's version of his departure on Saturday from hospital where he had been in isolation.
In an exclusive phone interview with the Jamaica Observer, the man, a native of Clarendon who had migrated to the United Kingdom several years ago, said the statement about him breaking out of the hospital is false.
"I said, 'Doctor, I am leaving at 11:00 am and I am going to my yard.' That's what I said to the doctor loud and clear, several times," he related, explaining that he walked out of the hospital freely to take care of his five-year-old daughter who had travelled with him and who was distressed.
Explaining his ordeal to the Sunday Observer from start to finish, he said: "When mi come down (June 30) mi kinda did a feel a little pain in my back. I wasn't sure of the pain I was feeling. I know I travel with a little back pain every now and then, but the back pain start get excess the Saturday 'cause mi reach the Thursday, spend the Friday with grandma, then the Saturday now the pain start get excess.
"Mi get some painkiller, the strong one, weh ease the pain fi the day, so by Sunday evening now the pain start come back again. So mi go to the doctor. When I went to the doctor, he gave me a note saying I have to admit at the hospital because him scan mi chest and see a little thing on my chest and never like what him see, so him send me to the hospital," he said.
It was here that the man said things started going haywire as he was told he had pneumonia and monkeypox, which left him puzzled as he was exposed to chickenpox and not the controversial disease.
"They had me from Tuesday, July 5, and Thursday is when they start telling me about pneumonia and monkeypox, which I was surprised because I wasn't exposed to monkeypox. I was exposed to chickenpox with my kids in England and I never had any symptoms before I left.
"It's when I come down the symptoms start affect me. I saw a few bumps the Sunday, not knowing it was the chickenpox. When them start do the checks now they say it's monekypox. They can't give me any evidence or proof to say it's the monkeypox, but they're telling me it's monkeypox," he said.
There wasn't, he said, any great concern among the medics about the rash on his skin, but more so it was the shortness of breath he was experiencing from the pneumonia.
In addition to his ailments, he said he also told the doctors that he had travelled with his five-year-old daughter who was in distress because she was not seeing him at home. As such, he asked that he complete the remainder of his quarantine at home.
"My baby's been distressed for the last couple of days. What we could do is get me back on a normal breathing without the oxygen. I've been on the oxygen on the isolation ward from Tuesday and came off today (Saturday). When it's time for him to release me to go home, he rings his other consultant doctor to change the agreement. My yute distressed. You have to understand where I am coming from. I'm locked up, I can't see her, can't help her, can't do nothing. Let's try and work it out so the baby is alright. Give me the couple days to quarantine at home, 'cause mi have space at home where I can quarantine," he said.
That's where the disagreements started.
"They then changed the argument, saying mi no look fit enough to go home to quarantine, mi haffi go spend another three weeks in the hospital without no arrangement with mi pickney weh mi have, weh mi carry from foreign come down here. What, am I suppose to leave my five-year-old kid for three weeks? So I turned to the doctor and said, 'You can't hold me any longer without my permission and I am not giving you any permission to hold me down for another three weeks and not attend to my daughter's needs. I'm her carer.' He then says I must wait another day for him to call his people to make a decision. I said, 'No, that can't work.'
"I am going to leave the hospital and you know exactly where I am going. You know where my daughter is staying and that's exactly where I am going, so all dem putting out fake news say mi jump through window and bruk out of hospital, mi walk straight pass the doctor and tell him exactly where I am going. Surprisingly, when I reach to where my daughter is I hear police driving up and down looking for me and I told them exactly where mi is," the man said.
"I even requested a copy of the document, the blood test saying I have monkeypox and I can't receive it. It puzzles my brain as to how I could have picked up monkeypox when my kids had chickenpox. It puzzles my brain as to how it transfer from chickenpox to monkeypox when mi reach Jamaica. What causes that? Further, the pox wasn't the concern. The shortness of breath and my lungs was the concern, so why could I no longer complete the quarantine at home with my child as was initially agreed?" he reasoned.
The man reiterated that his concern was for the welfare of his child.
"How could I allow you to lock me down for three more weeks when I was concerned about my child? Fi the last four days mi pickney nuh eat. She drop asleep from all 2:00 in the afternoon, wake up 12 in the night crying. I cannot allow that. I've only stood up for my rights and speak up. I walked straight out of there. I even told the security guards that I had an agreement with the doctor and he went back on that. That's not honourable. Everything I told the doctors was the truth. They know exactly where I am," he said.
The man returned to the hospital and went into isolation soon after, officials confirmed.