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Jamaica lacks resources to care for ailing infant

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2023 | 9:40 AM

Three-year-old Kianna Francis was born with severe heart defects. She is also struggling with a weakened immune system. Her parents are desperately seeking help to get her overseas where the surgeries can be done as she has been told she cannot be helped in Jamaica.


Mom says hospitalised 3-y-o desperately in need of surgery

1 Feb 2023

KIANNA FRANCIS turned three years old on Tuesday. However, she spent her birthday on oxygen therapy at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James, where she has also spent much of her life since birth.

The infant was diagnosed with tricuspid atresia, a congenital heart defect. Kianna also struggles with a string of other heart-related complications.

Her mother, Stacy-ann Campbell, was overcome with emotion on Monday as she detailed the difficulties she and her child’s father have faced because of the severity of Kianna’s illness. There is uncertainty about how long she will survive.

Campbell told The Gleaner that Kianna would experience stomach pains and turn blue whenever she caught a cold.

It has been a painful experience for Campbell to witness her child crying in discomfort. This is the third time that Kianna has been admitted to hospital.

“Jamaica can’t do no surgery for her. Dem tell me that from she born, them no have the resources,” Campbell said, adding that the child has been referred for overseas intervention.

Kianna is the third child for Campbell and is the only one to have these complications.

“One doctor did a try help me, but the doctor dead,” the mother said.

“Bustamante [Hospital for Children] tell me say them don’t have the resources for her regarding surgery, so me nuh know.”

The senior medical officer and chief executive officer of Bustamante – Jamaica’s only paediatric hospital – could not immediately address that claim but said they would investigate the matter and provide me with information.

The distressed mother explained that she has been relentless in her efforts to get help for her daughter, but has grown frustrated at the many failed attempts to have surgery done.

Attempts to register Kianna for free surgery overseas have been unsuccessful, the mother said.

“I really want a hospital to accept her for surgery,” Campbell said.

Both mother and daughter are without a United States visa.

Campbell also noted that Kianna suffers from a weakened immune system.

The mom is making a public appeal for assistance in getting lifesaving surgery for her daughter.

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