Tue | Jan 22, 2019

HIV patient in long wait for $10M interim payment given to lawyer

Published:Thursday | October 18, 2018 | 3:58 PM

Syranno Baines, Gleaner writer

Almost two months after the Ministry of Justice authorised an interim payment of $10 million to a nurse who contracted HIV while on the job at a hospital in central Jamaica, she has not received the money and her lawyer has not said when she will be paid.

The woman, Lydia James* contacted The Gleaner in September, more than three years after her story was first published by this newspaper, and sought to make it public that she had still not been paid.

But, checks with the justice ministry and the Attorney General's Chamber showed that the $10 million had been paid to an account held by her attorney on August 28.

Furthermore, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck confirmed to The Gleaner that the Government has no outstanding debts for judgment awards.

Efforts to get a comment from the attorney has so far been unsuccessful as she claimed that she was in dialogue with the Office of the Attorney General regarding the matter.

Frustrated by the delay and with her health deteriorating with each passing day, James said she informed her attorney in September of her intent to go public yet again.

She said she was also in dire need of three stem-cell therapy procedures to slow down the virus in her system.

James said in 2015, one treatment was costing $250,000.

She said her attorney strongly advised against speaking to the media and instead opted to deposit $300,000 to her account for her to begin her treatment.

*Name changed on request.

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