The family of 71-year-old Gweneth George of Bolans, is breathing a little easier, after a medical emergency demanded that their loved one be airlifted to Barbados’, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, for specialized attention over the weekend. Thanks to the Calvin Ayre Foundation (CAF), which funded the US$31,500 flight, George was able to undergo emergency surgery on Tuesday, August 23, and is now in recovery.
Recounting her aunt’s ordeal, George’s niece, Rolanda Prince said that her aunt was visiting a family member’s home, when she started complaining of an excruciating headache, numbness in her left leg, intense nausea, and elevated blood pressure.
By the time she arrived at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC), by ambulance, Prince said her aunt’s pain and nausea had gotten worse, as she was experiencing what doctors refer to as “Thunderclap” headaches. A Computed Tomography, or CT scan, revealed she had suffered an aneurysm, which doctors confirmed required medical attention outside of Antigua.
According to CAF’s Media Relations Specialist, Jamilla Kirwan, the initial distress call on behalf of the family, came from a concerned Samantha Marshall, MP for St. Mary’s South, which prompted her to connect with George’s niece, Rolanda Prince. Prince was then able to quickly produce her aunt’s medical records detailing the urgency of the matter, and a submission was made to the Foundation’s board to fast track an approval. George was airlifted over the weekend and underwent surgery on Tuesday.
An update on Tuesday evening from George’s son, Carlton Henry, who accompanied his mother to Barbados, confirmed that the surgery went well. He also confirmed that she is responsive but that he is anxious to see her more active.
“Without the Foundation’s assistance, I don’t know how mom would have gotten the medical help she needed,” he said. “We are forever thankful!”
George’s niece, Rolanda Prince, also expressed gratitude. “The nature of her condition required speedy attention and getting the approval to airlift her that fast…we really appreciate it. We would not have been able to come up with those type of funds.”
According to Kirwan, Social Development, Sports & Education and Emergency Response, are the specific areas the Foundation chooses to support. “Truthfully, it is terribly difficult to make these kinds of decisions because we are not always able to help every cause,” she said. “But whenever we can, we are happy to see the difference we make in the lives that we touch. On behalf of Ambassador Calvin Ayre and the Calvin Ayre Foundation, I wish Mrs. George a speedy recovery.”