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HomeNewsLocal NewsLupus patient alleges being denied healthcare; COVID-19 Vaccine required

Lupus patient alleges being denied healthcare; COVID-19 Vaccine required

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by Eulana Weekes

St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): President of the St Kitts-Nevis Lupus Hope Foundation, Mrs. Kesha Isaac Adams has voiced her disappointment in a medical practitioner in St Kitts, who allegedly refused her request for medical assistance.

Isaac-Adams explained publicly that she was diagnosed with Lupus and has since been overwhelmed with varying medical conditions. She took to social media on Wednesday, April 20 to share an ordeal that she encountered earlier that day, whilst attempting to book an appointment at the office of an unidentified Gynaecologist.

“For the last two or so weeks, I have been experiencing extremely bad pains in my pelvis which I have had before because of a cyst on my ovaries. I have experienced three miscarriages and the last time I had a miscarriage was in 2020 just before the pandemic caused all the lockdowns and it was found that I had a cyst that was growing with the fetus and I ended up losing the baby. Fine, I lost the baby, but I have had the recurring issue it feels;” Isaac- Adams shared.

She added, “But this time, about two weeks ago to date, it feels worst, so I called my gynaecologist to make an appointment and the receptionist said, “well you have to bring your vaccination card;” and I said, well I am not vaccinated because I have Lupus and he’s my regular doctor and she said, “come, I’ll let him know and what’s not” and I walked there in the sun, only to be told that not only is he not going to see me, but basically, I have no excuse why I don’t have the vaccine, because people with Lupus can take the vaccine.”

She later expressed her personal opinion in opposition of the COVID-19 vaccine despite health officials reassuring patients of its efficacy in treating persons with pre-existing conditions.

Over the past two years, Isaac-Adams said her repeated health issues led to her hesitancy with the vaccine.

“Where in those two years of constantly trying to get my body under control was I expected to be healthy enough to take an experimental vaccine?” Isaac Adams questioned.

She indicated that her complications include cysts, neuropathy (damaged or malfunctioning nerves) as well as enlarged blood cells, which leads to fatigue. Issac- Adams further explained that she also had pneumonia and is currently dealing with hormonal imbalance as most of her thyroid is gone.

Isaac- Adams in a brief conversation with WINN FM, indicated that the most disturbing part of the response is when it was specified that, “people with Lupus can take the vaccine.” She suggested that no two Lupus patients are alike and would prefer that they not be “painted with a broad brush.”

Isaac Adams confirmed on Friday morning April 22, that her gynaecologist is Dr. Derrek Jeffers. WINN FM sought comment from Dr. Jeffers who noted clearly that he will not give a statement on the specific matter, but stated that his vaccination policy is posted at his office.

“If you have your vaccination card, you can visit my office. There are two signs posted in my office related to vaccination, one of which is that the governing body of which I am a member who gave me my post-grad from England, strongly recommended that all women including pregnant women get vaccinated. That’s my governing body who governs my practice of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.”

Jeffers referred to the governing body as The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, a senior local health official was also contacted. He advised that the services in question are available at the Joseph N France General Hospital and all have access to care there, irrespective of COVID-19 vaccination status. He also advised that there are two other obstetricians and gynaecologists that he is aware of in St Kitts who do not have a vaccination policy to be seen.

Wilkinson added that it is the choice of private medical practitioners to impose policies or rules at their offices, explaining that, a patient who is not willing to abide by the policies at a particular doctor’s office has an open opportunity to seek specialised services elsewhere, once the specialist is available.

Dr. Wilkinson suggested, “A person with lupus is high risk and really should make getting vaccinated a priority as contracting COVID 19 could have an unfavourable outcome but at the end of the day it comes down to a personal choice and whether or not we are willing to live with the choices we make. In my practice (public or private) I see persons irrespective of their vaccination status. In a private office, a physician has a choice to do what he deems best within the law to protect himself, his staff and others accessing care at their private office. It is therefore my opinion that medical care is not being denied. The patient in question has options.”

The month of May is celebrated as Lupus Awareness Month. Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. To this end, Isaac- Adams briefly provided insight into her life and daily experiences as a Lupus patient and her desire for everyone to be educated about the disease.

“Sometimes it is easy to live a seemingly normal life but there is nothing normal about living with Lupus and it’s not easy. I can tell you that. Even if you see us smiling all the time, being positive and being encouraging to others and really taking on our own issues, it doesn’t mean that we’re accustomed to it or that it’s easy, because it is very painful.”

“I hope and pray that we get better as a people and as we go into Lupus Awareness Month that we can all be educated on the disease; and when you know that someone is actually suffering from this disease, please understand that it hasn’t been easy for them and it’s not going to be easy at any point for them, even when they put on a brave face; so, a little kindness goes a long way.”

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