26-y-o Jamaican policewoman in need of liver transplant
NEW YORK, United States
Twenty-six-year old policewoman Donique Anderson is urgently in need of a liver transplant.
Anderson is currently in the United States (US), where she has been since May 5, but is unable to get on the transplant donor list because of her immigration status.
She has been treated at various hospitals in New Jersey on an emergency basis since arriving in the US but is unable to get the detailed treatment that is required for her to be on the list for liver donors.
She is being helped by various members of the diaspora who have rallied to her assistance.
Alison Wilson, Jamaica’s consul general to New York, is now trying to secure assistance for her.
“I was made aware of her situation today and I am actively seeking assistance for her,” the consul general told The Gleaner when contacted.
Wilson said she was unaware of Anderson’s plight until it was brought to her attention yesterday.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang told The Gleaner that he was aware that Anderson was in Falmouth Hospital but was unaware that she had traveled to the US. He said he would be reaching out to the Jamaica Police Federation on the matter and promised to share with The Gleaner whatever information he gets.
According to Anderson’s mother, Gem Donald, who is in the US with her, Anderson joined the police force in 2017.
Shortly after she was diagnosed with anti-immune hepatitis which landed her in the Falmouth Hospital where her mother worked as a housekeeper.
“She was treated at Falmouth but there was no proper diagnosis and she was later sent to Cornwall Regional Hospital,” Donald said.
During this period, Anderson completed her basic training which was interrupted due to her hospitalisation. She was assigned to a police station in Clarendon and later transferred to the police station in Four Paths.
Donald said that, in 2022, her daughter began exhibiting symptoms and went back into the Falmouth Hospital.
On May 5 this year, according to Donald, her daughter and herself were sent to the US on tickets paid for by the Jamaica Constabulary Force with the understanding that she would see a doctor at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.
“We called after four-days arrival but could get no information about the doctor at Bellevue who she should see,” Donald said.
She further stated that her daughter had to be admitted to the emergency room at a hospital in New Jersey.
She has been admitted at least four times at emergency rooms but released as soon as her symptoms stabilised.
Claudette Powell, who heads the Northeast Diaspora Health Task Force, told The Gleaner that Anderson's plight was brought to her attention and community efforts began being made to assist her.
“She was sent here without any preparation being made for her care,” Powell said.
Efforts were made to get Anderson qualified for charity care but this fell through as she is not a legal resident of the US, nor a citizen.
She is also without health insurance in the US.
“What we have been able to do is provide emotional support and getting her into hospitals on an emergency basis to have her symptoms treated,” she said.
Powell said she called and spoke with the person at the Police Welfare Department whose name was given to her Anderson but nothing came of the calls.
Anderson has moved from hospital to hospital in New Jersey since her arrival but, in each case, she has been unable to get the kind of treatment that her condition requires.
Dr Robert Clarke, a prominent Jamaican doctor in New Jersey, told The Gleaner that the only hope for Anderson to remedy her condition was to get a liver transplant.
“Her condition is complicated and she needs to get the transplant,” he said.
In CClarke’s view, the people involved with Anderson's care in Jamaica dropped the ball.
“The doctors should have done the proper diagnosis and the government should have done more to help her,” he said.
In the meantime, Anderson and her mother continue to live in hotel rooms that are costing them funds they do not have and get her into hospital emergency rooms to have her symptoms treated as the occasions arise.