Jul 16, 2013 News
Although it is a rather rare move for a man to put his career on hold to care for his child, this was the bold decision made by 37-year-old Miguel Singh not so long ago. The move, although coerced by relatives, was one done to ensure the wellbeing of his son, Jonathan Kennedy Singh, who is now 16 months old.
The toddler was born prematurely on February 12, 2012, in Grenada. At the time Singh said that he was studying Civil/Mechanical Engineering. His career choice eventually saw him travelling to at least five different Caribbean territories. The child was left in the care of his Grenadian mother.
Singh said that he would check on his son every three to four months in Grenada but was soon convinced that “the finances wired for him was not being spent on him.” He said, too, that close examination of the child’s clinic card revealed that he had missed several clinic visits. It was also discovered that he was undernourished suggesting that he was not being properly cared for.
Moreover, the 37-year-old Guyanese national said that it was after discussions with his parents and siblings who reside here that he made the proactive decision to return to the land of his birth to seek medical attention for his son.
This was due to the fact that the man had found that most of the territories he’d worked in did not have the medical services his son required or they were not readily available. “In Grenada where he was born I made an appointment for him to see a Paediatric Neurologist one year ago…This is close to one year, three months ago and he hasn’t seen that specialist,” related Singh.
Aside from being undernourished the child also requires medical attention for his eyes, ears and skin, which seems sunburnt. His feet are slightly deformed due to a condition described as the ‘Denis Brown’ Syndrome which causes a curve to the sole of the feet.
All of the conditions are being addressed through the services offered at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation free of cost.
Singh said that upon his return to Guyana he was seeking the services of private institutions starting with a CT Scan at the Dr. Balwant Singh Hospital to determine the condition of his son’s brain too.
He has since been reimbursed some of the finances spent privately after being informed by a GPHC nurse that there was provision for him to make a claim there. “I am thankful to the Chief Executive Officer’s office which facilitated reimbursement for some of the monies I spent,” said Singh.
“As a result of me being a Guyanese national and a taxpayer what my son has been able to access free of cost within one week he hasn’t been able to access that in his own country of birth.”
According to Singh he has been told by the public hospital’s Orthopaedic Specialist that the curve in his son’s feet resulted from limited space in his mother’s womb which caused them to become squashed. He is required to undergo therapy at the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre where he is to be fitted with a ‘Denis Brown’ Splint.
The procedure is expected to continue until the child turns three years old but if not corrected by then he may have to undergo a minor operation to release the nerves in his feet to allow flexibility in the ankles.
And the child has shown vast improvement since being attended at the public hospital, Singh reported yesterday. “Initially when he came here he was unable to sit up and hold his head up, also his eyes (although still) a little off, were off a little more but as a result of proper nutrition and guidance from the specialist the eyes are straightening out themselves,” Singh related.
An antifungal cream is helping to normalise the child’s skin at a relatively fast rate. According to Singh too specialists have informed that his son’s overall restoration will depend on his nutrition level, that is, how much and what he is fed, coupled with the development of his senses and his response to ongoing therapy.
But according to the man, the child already has an excellent appetite and consumes vitamins regularly.
And even as he anticipates his son’s restoration, Singh said that he is looking to enrol him in a special needs day care centre in order to have him communicate with different types of children. But there are not many options, Singh observed.
He said that at the moment the child’s communication skills are being stimulated by his cousins and other relatives.
“I am with him 24 hours a day, seven days a week…and I believe even his feet could have already been rectified had I had him from a baby,” said noted.
In addition to being grateful to the medical care his son has so far received from the local medical professionals, the man said that he is most appreciative of the move by the Immigration Department to grant his son an unrestricted stay despite him being a Grenadian national.
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