NO QUICK FIX - Infant mauled by dogs flown to top US hospital; J’cans urged to be patient
Five-year-old Mickele Allen, who was mauled by dogs in St D’Acre, St Ann, on Sunday, will spend months in hospital in the United States at a starting cost of $15.6 million, sourced through sponsorship overseas.
The infant, who required emergency surgery after the vicious attack, was flown out of the island yesterday afternoon, accompanied by his mother, Shereen Grindley, under a mission led by Jamaica-born US-based registered nurse Dennis Stanberry and World Media Television’s Andrew McGlone.
It took McGlone two days to find the funding needed to make the transfer a reality.
“I found out about him on Wednesday evening. By Thursday morning, we had a passport for him and by Thursday afternoon we had his visa,” he said during a press briefing at the Sangster International Airport yesterday afternoon.
McGlone was grateful for the swift and favourable response of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency and the United States Embassy, as neither the boy nor his mother had possessed passports.
“The American Embassy [worked] after hours in order to process the visas,” he said.
The Jamaica Tourist Board was also keep to facilitating their smooth departure and organising yesterday’s briefing.
McGlone said that Mickele’s injuries were so severe that if not attended to quickly, there was a real risk he may lose his life.
“So we have a very fast timeline. The surgeons need to treat him this weekend,” he stressed.
Stanberry, an ardent Gleaner reader, said that he was moved by the harrowing story of the the dog attack brought to public attention in Monday’s edition of the newspaper.
His organisation, Mocho Village Inc, named in honour of his birthplace in Clarendon, has done a lot of charity work in Jamaica.
The two men said that there would be need for ongoing care for Mickele and until he has had his first set of surgeries, they will not know the overall cost.
“This is an extensive injury; it is not a quick fix. I really want the Jamaican community to be patient with the child and even the family, which is faced with socio-economic challenges. So we have to be very mindful of how we push these buttons,” Stanberry stated, seemingly worried about the living condition of the child’s family.
Grindley, a first-time traveller, was gracious to have received the assistance for her son, who she said is fully aware of what was happening, including the fact he was going overseas.
“When I saw him this morning, he was asking about his sister and what she is doing, and [saying] that he is going to go back home and play with her,” she said, adding that he didn’t seem to be in much pain and only complained of a headache after he arrived at the airport.
Other family members are as elated, with Mickele’s cousin, Samantha Beaumont, expressing confidence in the facilities in the US in carrying out the necessary treatment.
Mickele will be admitted to the top-tier Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, which is widely recognised for clinical excellence and for breaking new ground in research. The facility is ranked among the best hospitals in the United States.
Beaumont said family members were still trying to come to terms with the attack that left the boy with severe injuries, especially to his head, which will necessitate plastic surgery.
“We are trying our best to cope,” she stated.
And the man credited with rescuing Mickele and taking him to the Alexandria Hospital, Stanford Shaw, also added his voice to those supporting the move.
“I just heard it on the news and I feel good about it. I’m just praying for him,” Shaw said.
After Shaw took Mickele to the Alexandria Hospital, he was later transferred to the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital before being moved again to the Bustamante Hospital for Children.