Wed | Aug 16, 2017

'I want to spend more time with my one year old son' - Myrie begs for help

Published:Tuesday | March 1, 2016 | 3:00 AM
Kenneth Myrie showing The Gleaner documents relating his release from the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre following pardon from the governor general.

KENNETH MYRIE is running out of time as his health deteriorates. He wants to spend more time, even quality time, with his very active one-year-old son.

This former prisoner who underwent major surgery at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) while he was still incarcerated in January 2004 is alleging that doctors removed his small intestines without his permission or that of his family.

Twelve years later, he faces an uphill task - a massive medical bill amounting to US$78,000 to carry out corrective surgery as he currently battles ill health.

Myrie has presented a letter from the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) indicating that he is a patient at the KPH outpatient surgery clinic.

The letter states: "Mr Myrie is scheduled to have corrective surgery done, as it relates to his condition. This surgery is not done in Jamaica, but in the United States of America, at the cost of US$78,000."

It continued: "Any assistance extended to the family to offset the cost of the surgery would be appreciated." The letter is signed by the acting director of patient affairs at the KPH.

In relation to the claim by Myrie that he was not given the opportunity by the hospital to decide whether or not he should do the surgery, Dr Natalie Whylie, senior medical officer at the KPH, said the policy of the institution was that patients are given a document to sign before an operation is done. She further pointed out that if the patient or any of his relatives are unable to sign, the senior medical officer is required to sign on behalf of the patient.

However, Dr Whylie was unable to speak to Myrie's operation, as the original medical records could not be found, and she was not the senior medical officer at the time the surgery was done.

MISSING FILE

The ailing Myrie relates how his voluminous medical file went missing at KPH and the impact this has had on his treatment over an extended period.

At one point, officials at the hospital told The Gleaner that Myrie's medical record was found. However, when Myrie returned to the hospital, he said the medical records that had purportedly resurfaced were not the original ones.

Myrie told The Gleaner that he had approached the Office of the Public Defender to seek legal redress on his behalf from the Kingston Public Hospital where the surgery to remove his small intestines had been done in 2004.

In a letter dated May 6, 2014, and addressed to the then permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Jean Dixon, the then acting public defender, Matondo Mukulu, acknowledged a complaint from Myrie against the hospital. "We have made a series of requests for a medical report dealing with the surgical operation that he (Myrie) underwent at Kingston Public Hospital in January 2004, but to date, there has been no response from the relevant officer at the Kingston Public Hospital," the letter read.

"I am asking the Jamaican people to open dem heart and consider me, the situation I am facing I can't afford the surgery and I have a life-threatening situation. I am looking to the kindness of dem heart so me can live a little bit longer."

Myrie dreams of staying around to spend quality time with his little boy, who is a bundle of energy. "Me can't even keep up with him now because mi caan even lift him up, mi caan run behind him like what him waan me fi do. Sometimes him run and jump on mi and his mother has to tek him off mi, and tell him seh: 'Daddy sick'."

Myrie was released from prison after receiving pardon from the governor general owing to ill health. He was convicted of murder but has consistently proclaimed his innocence.

An account has been opened at the National Commercial Bank's Duke Street branch in Kingston, with account number 0-6-4-9-9-0-8-0-2. Anyone who wishes to assist Myrie in getting his surgery done abroad can make a contribution to the account.