By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 2, 2023 – At eleven years old Stephanie Suazo used to play a game with her mother Myriam, pretending to be asleep in bed so her mother would come over and tickle her till she laughed; but on January 29th 2020 when Myriam tickled her daughter she didn’t move, and blood was dripping from her mouth. Within hours she was declared dead by medical personnel. It seemed impossible, Myriam told us, because only the day before she had taken her daughter to the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre where she was assured her daughter was not seriously ill.
Over the phone and with palpable sadness, Myriam relived the moments, saying she had taken the day off that Tuesday and went to the hospital around 6:30 a.m. She waited with Stephanie for around two and a half hours before they could see a doctor and when they finally did,
“[The doctor] just looked at her and asked her how she was feeling and looked at her throat– [the doctor] said maybe she’s coming down with the cold and [prescribed] her some antibiotics, paracetamol and something for her throat, and then said to me, she should be able to go back to school on Thursday.”
She wasn’t okay.
In fact, her autopsy would eventually reveal that Stephanie had viral myocarditis unbeknownst to Myriam and undetected by the doctor.
Allowed to take Stephanie home, the unsuspecting mother, armed with chicken soup and medication prescribed by the TCI Hospitals’ physician, fed and medicated her child with the belief that she would be fine by morning.
As she shared the events, despite holding back tears, Myriam was clear and coherent and recalled with painful precision, the worst day of her life.
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 29th, 2020
Recently hired at the bank and not wanting to take too many days off, Myriam explained she had arranged for her close friend to take care of Stephanie while she went to work. After feeding her daughter and giving her the prescribed medication, Myriam says she made sure Stephanie was comfortable being without her for the day, kissed her and left.
“When I got to work, I told my supervisor that I was not going to take lunch because I wanted to leave early. It‘s just how I am. If I know she’s not well, I can’t be at peace.” she said.
But by around 4 pm, Myriam got a call from her friend who put Stephanie on the phone, she complained of a stomach ache and Myriam immediately made arrangements for them to go to Graceway Medical Centre, but they never made it.
The trip for a second opinion never happened because once Myriam got home intending to head to the doctor (after another phone call in which her daughter complained of ‘feeling cold’) her friend informed, ‘Stephanie was asleep.’ Knowing her daughter’s little game, Myriam went in to tickle her and realized something was very wrong.
“I called her: I said ‘baby’ and she didn’t respond so I knew she was waiting for me to tickle her. I tickled her and she didn’t respond.” Myriam explained, “I put my hand under her head and then I took her in my arms, that’s when I saw the blood coming out of her mouth. I started screaming ‘my baby my baby’.”
She immediately called 911 requesting an ambulance, but Myriam says they took too long to arrive.
“I gave them the address over and over– they took forever. I was just screaming so my friend was there doing CPR. [my friend] was pressing her chest and blood was coming out of her mouth. The police arrived first and they continued doing CPR for her and the ambulance still didn’t come. The police had to flash their sirens for them to find the house.”
After that everything was a whirlwind, a blur told she was not allowed in the ambulance, she was driven to the hospital by police and less than an hour after arriving doctors came to tell her that her little girl did not make it, allowing her to say goodbye.
“I was in shock- looking at her like this is not for real,” she told us in tears. “We were always together and I had to leave her at the hospital that night.”
Beside herself with grief Myriam tells us she didn’t sleep, she kept thinking that it wasn’t real, that her daughter would wake up. Her only solace, a kind police officer.
“I was still hopeful like she was going to wake up. I spent the whole night calling Albert, he’s a police officer” she explained to us “He was the one that arrived, and I called him all night. I told him please have someone check the morgue, maybe she might get up. And he told me okay I’m going to have someone check for you.”
The day following Stephanie’s passing Myriam says she was dragged to the police station, and continuously interviewed about Stephanie’s death.
THURSDAY JANUARY 30th 2020
“It was so weird, it almost seemed like they thought I had done something to my daughter; investigating me instead of the hospital. It was a nightmare.”
They took her daughter’s passport, laptop and phone and initially refused to give them back. The hospital released a press statement she explained, without really talking to her, and her daughter’s picture, unauthorized by her, was shared nationally. It was only through the help of a very close friend, whom she describes as more of a mother to her, that Myriam was able to recover her daughter’s personal effects from the police. She claims the police “lied” about finding suspicious searches on her laptop describing it all as a horror story.
Today, Myriam feels her matter lacked urgent, respectful attention because she lacked clout.
“I’m just a regular person so it’s like her life doesn’t matter because of that, that’s how I feel. They completely disregarded me like I didn’t even matter. The autopsy results, the bloodwork, they didn’t want to give us anything so we had to keep chasing after them to give it to us.”
She feels that in the aftermath the hospital washed its hands of the incident making her out to be responsible, and now feels duped, like her faith in them was misplaced.
“I’m not God. I don’t know why it happened but I feel that at least I took her to the hospital. I feel like if they had just looked at her properly or done some examinations” she broke off “Don’t just look at her and say nothing is wrong with her. You prescribed her things, I go home and then she’s dead the next day? And everyone acts like it’s normal, it’s nothing.”
THREE YEARS LATER
Myriam continues to have concerns about the strength of the medication prescribed and administered to her daughter. On this three year anniversary, Magnetic Media is told that Stephanie’s toxicology report listed several medications as being in the child’s system including ACETAMINOPHEN and PHENIRAMINE which have documented cases, though rare, of cardiac toxicity.
“When the lady gave me the medication I remember telling her those are adult medications and she told me that once a child is 11 years old they start prescribing them adult medications.”
Three years later Myriam just wants justice for her daughter, but time is running out for her to file a case and she needs her daughter’s story to be heard. She said she tried to file a case and her first lawyer agreed to take it, had agreed she had a viable case and expressed suspicion regarding the autopsy results but suddenly backed out.
“Everyone I turn to, no one can help me. I went to another lawyer just the day before yesterday and he said I’m not going to lie to you, there are many people who have taken the hospital to court and they have failed. It’s the hospital and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Stephanie’s autopsy states a probable cause of death as viral myocarditis, a type of heart disease caused when viral infections reach the heart inflaming its muscles and making it difficult to pump blood. Several infections can cause myocarditis including Influenza (flu) virus, Coxsackie virus, Parvovirus, Adenovirus and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Myriam, in telling us about how pleasant and precious and fill of potential Stephanie was, says she is determined to be a champion for her child, even though she is no longer physically here.
“You will never know how it feels until it happens. It’s not going to bring her back but I want her story to be heard and people need to know that she was here. That she had dreams. She was a good and grateful person and so positive,” she said.
Now Myriam cannot bear to be in the place where her daughter passed away and every time she sees someone her daughter’s age, the broken-hearted mother wonders what could have been.
We have reached out to the hospital for answers to these burning questions and about a case which stunned the nation; a case which soon lost steam in the head to head challenge against the then unprecedented uniqueness of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
While TCI Hospitals, following our news report in TCI Top Stories (audio newscast) has responded to the mother with the intention of ensuring Myriam is supplied her daughter’s records; it was a short-lived hope for something more, as the family is already in possession of those records.
On the belief and allegation of her family that the death of young Stephanie Suazo back in 2020 was due to medical negligence or incompetence of some sort, we continue to await a formal statement from InterHealth Canada TCI Hospitals.
Sandals Foundation and returning guests donate sports gear to Turks and Caicos Islands Softball Federation
#TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2023 – Beaches Turks and Caicos resort returning guests, Moe Bertelsmann and family recently presented softball gear and jerseys to the Turks and Caicos Islands Softball Federation and the Sports Commission. The family along with the Sandals Foundation team made the presentation to Godfrey Been, President of the Softball Federation and Tamara Bassett, Board Member of the Sports Commission, at the opening of the High School Softball season at the Ball Park in downtown Providenciales.
The supplies, which include bats, balls, catching helmets, gloves, shin guards, hard hats, catching gear, and practice playing gear will bolster the federation’s ability to provide instructional training while allowing coaches and the players to be more prepared not only for this season but the long term.
General Manager James McAnally shared, “Guests are one of the Sandals Foundation’s greatest partners in providing support to our islands throughout the Caribbean. We are grateful to the Bertelsmann family for their donation to the Softball Federation and hope it will help in developing this fast growing sport.”
In sharing the inspiration behind the family’s donation, mother, Anne Bertelsmann noted, “as a family we are passionate about the sport of softball and the physical and mental discipline that these activities provide for our youth. When we did our research on the sport here in Turks and Caicos Islands and shared with other families and organisations, they all decided to help. My daughter Alexa even donated some of her lightly used equipment along with friends, Chris Goodfred and Tonia Martin.
Softball Federation president, Godfrey Been, in expressing his appreciation for the gifts shared, “these items came at the right time. As a federation, we have been working on introducing and improving the sports at every high school throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands. With this donation, we now have gears to play practice games as well as helping our local coaches with providing for their players and being better prepared for the future. We are grateful to the Bertelsmann family and the Sandals Foundation for supporting softball here in the region. We will take this and “run” with it to get softball to where it once was, the number one sport.”
Melleisha St. Jean, catcher of the Maranatha Academy’s softball team was impressed by Alexa who joined a few players on the field and traded catching techniques. “As young players, to see Sandals Foundation and guests sharing with us and even taking the time to give us some playing tips really helped us. I am inspired to continue playing the game.”
Header: Tamara Bassett, Board Member of the Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission and Godfrey Been, president of the Softball Federation accept the softball gear from the Sandals Foundation and the Bertelsmann family recently at the Ball Park downtown Providenciales.
1st insert: President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Softball Federation, Godfrey Been (left), shares a moment with Semi-professional player and Beaches Turks and Caicos guest Alexa Bertelsmann (centre) and Joddy Harvey, Sports Commission Compliance Manager discuss plans for the further partnership with the organisations
2nd insert: President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Softball Federation, Godfrey Been, expresses his satisfaction to the Sandals Foundation and the Beaches Turks and Caicos resort returning guests the Bertelsmann family for the donation of the softball gear to the federation
3rd insert: Semi-professional softball player and Beaches Turks and Caicos guest, Alexa Bertelsmann (left) goes through some catching routine with Maranatha Academy catcher Melliesha Saint-Jean at the start of the high school softball competition at the Ball Park
Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis’ Remarks at the COP28 Green Climate Blue Co Launch
#TheBahamas, December 7, 2023 – We are here today because we are short on time and even shorter on the resources needed to empower every nation in the world to respond to an increasingly dire climate crisis.
We are approaching the tipping point from which there will be no return. At our current rate, the world will cross the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold sometime within the next two decades.
The window of opportunity is closing.
But it is not closed yet.
And as long as there is even a small opening, just a sliver of time left for us to take action, there is still hope that we can save the world from the worst-case climate change scenarios.
I’ve travelled the globe representing Small Island Developing States like mine which have contributed the least to global carbon emissions but are already experiencing the worst effects of climate change.
Global inaction will soon threaten our continued existence as nations, but we will do everything within our power to avoid this outcome.
The Bahamas is here this week at COP 28 to invite the people of the world to partner with us and all vulnerable states to face this existential threat together.
As a region, the Caribbean has seen the results of our advocacy take shape in the form of the Loss and Damage fund to help us recover from the destruction already wrought on our nations. And we will continue to push for greater access to financing opportunities as we seek to protect our shorelines, build climate-resilient infrastructure, and invest in a renewable and sustainable future.
Through collaborative action, we will also create new industries and generate demand for novel solutions. Solving the world’s most pressing problems has always been good for business. We are entering an era of socially responsible investments, regenerative financing, and ESG finance. And the Caribbean is prepared to lead the way. In fact, if we want to continue to thrive as a region, we have no choice but to lead the way.
My country has been hit by four major hurricanes over the past few years. Over a third of our national debt is directly linked to the impact of storms, causing billions in damages that threaten the economic and fiscal health of our nation and people. With the situation projected to worsen at its current rate, we have gone all-in on making the necessary investments to solve our climate woes. Our future as a nation depends on it.
So, today, I applaud the Green Climate Fund for its efforts to support the developing world in creating climate-resilient pathways to a sustainable future. This is life-saving work.
With the approval of the application for preparation funds to finance the development of the Blue Co Caribbean Umbrella Coordination Programme, we fully expect to see new, effective solutions emerge for the people of the Caribbean.
The Blue Co Caribbean project will provide the foundation for strategic investments at a scale not possible without embracing the spirit of cooperation and co-investment through this Caribbean-targeted, climate-focused investment opportunity.
Through this platform, Caribbean nations will be empowered to strengthen their blue economy frameworks and develop data-backed projects that can then be replicated and scaled across the region. My nation, as one of the world leaders in the research and development of blue carbon credits as a viable source of revenue generation, looks forward to the ways that Blue Co will strengthen The Bahamas’ mission to develop home-grown solutions that can fund a climate-resilient future for our people.
It turns out that saving the world isn’t just good for people, it’s also good for business.
Just yesterday, we were privileged to host a discussion on the Bahamas Sustainable Investment Programme, which will generate up to $500 million for climate-related investments. This is a testament to our commitment and resolve to generate our own innovative solutions to the climate crisis. And we are by no means standing alone.
Within the Caribbean, we have the passion, motivation, and expertise to drive the success of this initiative. There is no doubt in my mind that Blue Co can and will serve as a model for other regions to follow.
I invite all interested parties to reach out, get involved, and together we will save countless lives and livelihoods on our way to building a more resilient, renewable, and prosperous future for all nations.
Small Island Developing States claim for OTEC at COP28
Dubai, 7 December 2023 – As the world converges for COP28, a side event has shed light on Ocean Energy for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Hosted on the 6th of December at the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) pavilion, in Dubai, the session had its focus on the blue and green economy aspirations of SIDS, with a special highlight for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). The common claim was that the technology is well suited for the renewable energy transition in tropical islands around the globe, which are currently mainly powered by fossil fuels.
Harnessing the SIDS’ main natural resource, the ocean, OTEC technology will have its first commercial implementation in São Tomé and Príncipe, Africa, by 2025. Designed by British startup Global OTEC, the project can half diesel costs. “This is a remarkable change in fortunes from the status quo of expensive and dirty fossil fuel imports. As we have concluded that the first-of-a-kind would produce electricity for a considerably lower unit cost than diesel, we also know it will fall dramatically as we scale up and deliver bigger and more ambitious projects”, says Global OTEC Founder and CEO Dan Grech.
Facing several challenges for power generation through fossil fuels, SIDS are now claiming more investment in OTEC. Representatives of Tonga, Dominica, Seychelles, Tuvalu and Barbados made references to Ocean Energy and OTEC in their remarks. Countries such as Bermuda, Palau, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bahamas and Grenada also attended the session.
The Minister for Infrastructure, Natural Resources, and Environment (MIRNMA) of São Tomé and Príncipe, Hon. Adelino Rosa Cardoso, highlighted that the project needs additional financial support to supplement what the private sector is contributing. “Several SIDS are anxiously waiting on Dominique’s deployment, that’s why my government, along with our private sector partner, Global OTEC, are aggressively engaged with our development partners to see how we can accelerate Dominique’s deployment.”
As São Tomé and Príncipe is setting the path for SIDS renewable energy transition through the ocean, other tropical islands are already waiting in line to be next to receive OTEC floating platforms. “We, SIDS, really have no choice in terms of energy, we are running out of land, and we don’t have much space for solar. But we have one space that we can’t ever run out of, which is our oceans. So it’s only enlightening that we can see partnerships that focus on this resource, a resource that can save us but also can save the planet”, notes the SIDS DOCK Secretary General Dr Al Binger.
Ocean energy can play a critical role in changing how SIDS are powered, as other renewables are less respectful to their particularities and needs. In bringing attention to OTEC’s potential in driving sustainable development and energy independence for tropical islands, COP28 is contributing towards a cleaner future for over 600 million people. “We are large ocean states, and it would be, in my mind, an injustice to our people if we refuse to continue to make the case for ocean technology. Whether in the form of wave, or OTEC, we need to make that argument”, concludes Hon. Dr. Vince Henderson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade, and Energy of Dominica.
Caption: Global OTEC Founder and CEO Dan Grech, Minister for Infrastructure, Natural Resources, and Environment (MIRNMA) of São Tomé and Príncipe, Hon. Adelino Rosa Cardoso, and the Secretary General of SIDS DOCK Dr Al Binger
About Global OTEC:
Global OTEC is a UK-based private company set up to accelerate the commercialisation of a floating OTEC technology to develop zero-carbon, baseload, clean energy sources that achieve maximum impact in empowering Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developing Countries (LDCs) and Coastal Nations with energy security whilst helping the Earth reduce greenhouse gas emissions and eventually eliminate total dependence on fossil fuels.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
Caribbean News2 days ago
Statement on the passing of PAHO Director Emeritus, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne
Caribbean News2 days ago
CARPHA Remembers Former PAHO Director Emeritus – Dr. Carissa Etienne as a “Tireless Advocate for Regional Solidarity”
News2 days ago
Man held for Killing due to Dangerous Driving escapes Police Custody
Caribbean News5 days ago
CARPHA Remembers Former PAHO Director Emeritus – Dr. Carissa Etienne as a “Tireless Advocate for Regional Solidarity”
News2 days ago
New Airlines coming to Grand Turk, in fact two says Premier Washington Misick
Health2 days ago
Deaths due to HIV/AIDS down 50 percent as World Aids Day marked Dec 1
News2 days ago
New Report offers concrete data; Rising seas will DROWN Caribbean Islands
News2 days ago
Only 12 days to Silver Airways flights to Turks & Caicos says TCIAA