(Jamaica Observer) A Corporate Area schoolteacher is heaping praises on members of the local medical community today after a frightening brush with what she believed was the dangerous novel coronavirus.
Ornelia Cameron is pushing for greater recognition for the health care workers who have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, and has identified a doctor at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Reynard Hammond, for special mention.
Cameron told the Jamaica Observer that she rushed to UHWI last month after her seven-year-old son, Joshua Greaves, started displaying symptoms which she believed could have been related to COVID-19.
According to Cameron, after examining the child, Dr Hammond determined that he was suffering from a case of food poisoning and not the dangerous virus.
“Throughout the time that we were there my son received intravenous medication and the doctor stayed with him and checked on him, while he should have probably been attending to other patients with more serious conditions.
“I was not feeling well, and even though I was not even registered, Dr Hammond assured me that I could be assisted too,” said Cameron.
“He took my phone number and when my son was discharged he called every day for the two weeks that my child was sick. Even if it was 12 midnight and something was wrong and I reached out to him, he still responded. I have never experienced anything like that at all. It stood out in my mind and I felt as if it needed to be highlighted,” added Cameron.
She gushed that Dr Hammond had been phenomenal and compassionate as he tried to cheer up Joshua and make him feel comfortable, while he was receiving his medication.
“I know it is not easy having to be present in the sense of all that is happening and having to go home to families. I want them [the health care workers] to remain strong. They are all simply remarkable, having to do this every day, and I really appreciate them. It was clearly an act of love,” said Cameron.
When the Observer contacted Dr Hammond he was thrilled at the commendation for doing what he does every day serve every patient he sees to the best of his ability.
“I feel very honoured to know that this is being highlighted, as not every day we get a thank you, so it feels really good,” said the 35-year-old who qualified as a medical doctor in 2014 and is in his second year of training as a paediatrician.
“My main objective is to ensure patients are better, and Joshua and Ms Cameron were very cooperative,” added Dr Hammond.
He said working in the health sector during this novel coronavirus pandemic has been challenging, but noted that, “It is a hard time for the patients too, as they are very scared, especially because of what they see and hear in the media.”
According to Dr Hammond, while there have been cases of children dying from COVID-19-related issues, he has yet to see a case, but he is urging parents who suspect that their child might be positive for the virus to seek medical help immediately.
“Especially in the more vulnerable groups like those who are asthmatic or with sickle cell disease,” said Dr Hammond as he underscored that the team spirit and support of his co-workers help him to cope during these tough times.
In the meantime, recently reappointed Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton told the Observer that he is well aware of, and appreciates, the yeoman service of Jamaica’s health care workers as the country battles the pandemic.
“Our health care workers perform heroic service to save lives and comfort the distressed each day, and more so now as part of the COVID response,” said Tufton.
“As a country, we owe them a debt of gratitude. This is another example of the good they do,” added Tufton.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness reported 148 newly confirmed cases across the island, to push the total number of novel coronavirus confirmed cases to 3,771 since the first case was recorded in March.
The health ministry also reported two more deaths, moving the number of COVID-19-related deaths to 42.
Of the 146 new cases reported on Saturday, 64 were males and 77 females. Kingston and St Andrew, with 79 new cases, led all parishes, with St Catherine, 33 and Manchester, 15, accounting for the majority of other cases.
According to the ministry 632 new samples were tested on Saturday with 486 returning negative results. The ministry said 77 people recovered on Saturday, leaving Jamaica with 2,500 active cases.
Just over 300 people were in home quarantine, 96 hospitalised with 28 moderately ill and five critically ill.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness is scheduled to post yesterday’s numbers on its website and social media pages at 10 this morning in keeping with its new protocol.