Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Family seeks help to clear daughter’s medical bills

Published:Saturday | November 28, 2015 | 11:00 AMTamara Bailey
Verisha has survived a great deal, and this is her today.
Verisha at the University Hospital a few months ago.
Mom Patrice with young Verisha and dad, Vector Dixon.
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Vector and Patrice Dixon went through a devastating period trying to do all they could to keep their daughter, born at 26 weeks and weighing one and a half pounds, alive. But now that she is in a slightly better place, the hurdle of paying a bill in excess of $600,000 is proving very difficult.

One of five children, young Verisha was diagnosed with chronic lung disease and has been having difficulty breathing ever since. This has resulted in frequent doctor's visits, and the funds set aside for the cause is drying up.

"Between physiotherapy, blood transfusion, X-rays and everything done to develop her breathing, we currently owe the University Hospital more than $635,000," Vector told Family & Religion.

He added, "The hospital has since given us a $5,000 per month payment plan, but we are still unable to pay as my wife is teaching voluntarily at a basic school and I am an evangelist, so there is no real means of an income. Adding to that, we have to find money for the doctor's visits and medication she needs now. And coupled with that, travelling can be a lot because we live in St Ann. At first, we had to travel to Kingston, which used to cost us up to $7,000 (per trip), and now we travel to Mandeville Regional Hospital, and everything may work up to around $4,000 per visit."

Stating that their baby is a miracle baby, Patrice expressed that although she had a difficult time getting pregnant and had what is called a 'breached birth', she never gave up hope.

SCHEDULEDC-SECTION

"I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and that made it hard for me to get pregnant. As the pregnancy progressed, I had very little stomach growth, and later (in the pregnancy), I kept losing fluid, maybe because my cervix lining was thin. At five months, I stayed in hospital until it was time for the C-section (caesarean section) I was scheduled for."

On her way to the operating theatre, Patrice felt the baby coming out and the doctors and nurses soon saw that the baby was breached.

"The baby came out with her bottom first, but because she was so small she came right out and there wasn't much problem. That could have been a blessing in disguise because the cost for a C-section was $160,000."

As the couple braced themselves to deal with the issues surrounding their baby's health, there were some things they never anticipated.

"We planned financially for our baby, but because of the complications, the funds soon ran out. Several times we got calls and we thought this was it. One moment she would be up and then another time she would be out. One time, the doctor told us they almost lost her. She went out completely, but they were able to revive her. To be honest, I had braced myself for the death news, but my wife wouldn't accept it. Although she was emotionally drained, especially after hearing mothers crying out because their babies had died, she still had hope. God came through for us and He is still working for us. After all, we are praying people," stated Vector.

FUND-RAISING EVENT

Now weighing 12 pounds at six months, the Dixons are happy they didn't give up on their daughter and are looking to the future for the blessing God has in store.

"We believe the worst has passed, but we have some hurdles ahead and I want corporate Jamaica and the wider world to help us. We will be having a fund-raising event for Verisha on December 31 to help offset her expenses. It is only $500 for the tickets, and this will be at the Wild Cane playing field in St Ann. It's a family affair and we are seeking your assistance to help us in any way you can," said Dixon.

Those willing to make donations may also do so at the University Hospital to account number 3809648 with registration number 1372581 or at the Bank of Nova Scotia AC# 427-152. You may also contact the family at (876) 299-6118.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com