Chief Medical Officer updates media on the medical case of a child with brain tumour

CMO Dr. Patrick Martin

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Martin says a number of Government and Medical Institutions locally and abroad are assisting six year old G’Neika Liburd and her family. G’Neika has a brain tumour.

In providing an update on the situation, Dr. Martin said the Pediatric Assistance League (PALS), the Department of Social Services, JNF Pediatrics, and the Ministry of Health are collaborating to assist G’Neika and her family.

Initial estimates for the required overseas care ranged from USD 15, 000 for surgery only to USD 80, 000 minimum for surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Fortunately, a hospital in the USA has agreed to provide the initial medical care at minimal charge. What happens thereafter depends on the initial evaluation and treatment. If the tumour is malignant, G’Neika will need radiation therapy and chemotherapy for an extended period.

Thanks to the outpouring of generosity by individuals and organizations, in the Federation and abroad, the first goal of raising USD $15,000 for G’Neika has been achieved. Persons have made donations to the PALS/Pedifund at Scotia Bank in two ways: Specifically for G’Neika’s care, and to the general pool because of the expectation at that time that cost of care would have been astronomical.

Some of the funds donated specifically for G’Neika have been and are being used to defray travel-related expenses such the MRI study done in Antigua, to Barbados for a US visa, and shortly, for travel to the USA for evaluation and treatment. Any remaining funds will kept in reserve for future expenses. The duration of care may extend to 8 years.

The CMO said the Pedifund is managed by PALS – a private pediatric foundation established in the early 1990s. Further donations to the Pedifund will be channelled to the general pool to be used to cover G’Neika’s future expenses, and expenses of other children. The Federation records an average of five children per year needing complex medical tests and treatment overseas.

PALS is committed to assisting these children and their families. PALS funds are managed with complete transparency and accountability. Further information about the mission of PALS and how to donate will be provided at a later date.

Government, through the Department of Social Services, also provides some financial assistance to eligible persons. Such monies are paid directly to the supplier(s) of services upon receipt of invoices. Monies are not given to patients or family. G’Neika’s family has filed an application for State assistance. However, PALS/Pedifund monies will be used first.

Contributions can be made directly to the family; such monies are controlled by the family only.

G’Neika and her mother are expected to travel to the USA this weekend. Heartfelt appreciation is extended to all donors and well-wishers for their support.

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