Wed | May 27, 2020

COVID-19 casualty was being treated with bush medicine - Relatives battling rejection in their home community

Published:Friday | April 3, 2020 | 12:32 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer
Two residents traverse a lane in George’s Plain, Westmoreland, where a now-deceased COVID-19 patient lived.
Two residents traverse a lane in George’s Plain, Westmoreland, where a now-deceased COVID-19 patient lived.

Western Bureau:

The family of a 41-year-old COVID-19 patient from Westmoreland who died on Wednesday is now grappling with scorn from fellow residents amid their grief.

The man was the third COVID-19 patient to have died since the emergence of the novel coronavirus, first discovered in China late last year.

The Gleaner is withholding the names of the family members involved to mitigate the stigma associated with COVID-19 and reduce the risk of any harm being done to the family.

The now-deceased, who resided in England but maintained a second home in George’s Plain, Westmoreland, arrived in Jamaica on March 12 and was taken to the doctor two days later after feeling unwell.

His sister-in-law believes he might have arrived in Jamaica sick.

“Dem (the deceased man and his wife) left in December and mek plan fi come back six months’ time, but them showed up two and a half months later, and we hear seh [he was] sick,” she told The Gleaner yesterday. “Dem come pon the 12th of March, and him go doctor on the 14th. Then mi husband call him and ask him how him do, and him seh that him was coming on fine.”

‘Bush’ medicine

The woman said they were surprised when her brother-in-law went back to the doctor on March 24 and was diagnosed as having the coronavirus and was then taken to a medical facility in Kingston.

Residents told The Gleaner that they had gathered that the deceased had been misdiagnosed and was being treated at home with ‘bush’ medicine before his illness worsened.

The deceased man’s brother, who did not address the claim, said he is not convinced that his brother died from COVID-19.

Health officials say the death is still under review.

The news of his death has left an ugly scar on the family as according to a family member, they are now being shunned by other residents of the community who are linking them to the deadly virus, which is creating unprecedented fear across the world.

“Since him dead is like all a wi round here so branded. Nobody nah come beside we, nobody nah talk to we, and is like everybody a Westmoreland ’fraid a di family yah now,” she said.

After the patient was confirmed to have the virus, his wife and the caretaker who manages their house when they are off the island were reportedly placed under quarantine.

The global death toll from the pandemic stood at more than 51,000 late yesterday evening.