A family from Aishalton Village, Region Nine is seeking the public’s assistance to raise funds in order to transport the body of a relative who died while receiving treatment at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC).
Stabroek News understands that 45-year old Susan Edwards of Aishalton Village was flown to Georgetown last Friday to seek treatment at the GPHC for her failing kidneys, after being referred there by doctors at the Lethem Hospital.
However, the woman reportedly died the following day, after relatives realised that they could not afford to pay for her dialysis which would have incurred a weekly cost of $36,000.
Debra Joseph, an aunt of the deceased who had travelled to Georgetown upon the request of her niece, said after being told of the cost for the dialysis, she realised that they would not be able to afford it. She was then told by the doctor that they would keep her niece in the hospital to see if her condition improved. This, however, did not happen, as she passed away on the following day.
The family, while still mourning the loss of their relative, are now faced with the challenge of sourcing funds to transport the woman’s body to her village for burial.
According to Joseph, the cost attached to doing this far exceeds what the family can afford at this point of time, as quotations received from two domestic airlines have listed the amount as being in excess of $500,000.
“She didn’t want to come, but the doctors told her that she has to, and then she said she didn’t want to come down without me. So the Regional Health Officer paid for me to come down to town by the bus to be with her,” the woman said.
“I had approached the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs for assistance but they told us that they can only give us $30,000…I don’t even have the finances to be up and down here, much less to help pay for her body to be taken back home. We are trying to raise money but I don’t know what is going to happen, her children and husband just want for her body to be carried home so they can bury her,” she added.
Meanwhile, Toshao of Aishalton Village, Douglas Casimero, who also spoke to Stabroek News, confirmed the woman’s plight, while adding that relatives back home have already prepared a grave and tomb for the woman.
“I was out in town attending the NTC (national toshaos) conference when I got a call from the relatives informing me of the situation, and I immediately wrote a letter to the VP Mr. (Sydney) Allicock and copied it to Minister (Valerie Garrido-) Lowe. I wrote the letters and handed it to Chairman of the NTC, to give it to them for me. My simple request was for assistance to take the body back home, but I am yet to receive a response from the ministers,” the Toshao added.
As a result, Toshao Casimero said, the relatives having realised that they cannot possibly afford the cost of chartering a flight, are now looking at possibly hiring a bus to take the body back overland, a trip that would take at least 18 hours, considering the current condition of the Linden/Lethem Trail.
“Based on my last conversation with Susan’s aunt, they have managed to raise $150,000 to charter the bus, but still require an additional $150,000 to offset the total amount…and even if they get through with the rest, it may only be enough to take her to Lethem. We may still have to look after transportation from Lethem to Aishalton,” the Toshao added.
Stabroek News understands that Edwards leaves to mourn her husband and two children, ages, 14 and 16 years.
Persons desirous of offering assistance are asked to contact either Toshao Douglas Casimero on telephone number 673-5182 or Debra Joseph on telephone number 661 0464.