Jehovah’s Witness woman in Trinidad seeks $50,000 for life-saving surgery

Jehovah’s Witness woman in Trinidad seeks $50,000 for life-saving surgery
Ruth Hurst-Duncan

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) —  All 50-year old Ruth Hurst-Dun­can wants is $50,000 more to get heart valve re­place­ment surgery that must be done with­out blood trans­fu­sion in ac­cor­dance with her re­li­gious be­lief as a Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness.

With­out the surgery, she has months to live.

She is mak­ing an ap­peal to the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly (THA) for fur­ther med­ical fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

On Sep­tem­ber 10, 2019, she re­ceived a pledge for just over $104,000 from the THA’s Di­vi­sion of Health Med­ical As­sis­tance Re­view Com­mit­tee (MARC) for the surgery.

Propped up on her bed with pil­lows with a hard­ened bel­ly and swollen body, she told Guardian Me­dia she is “very grate­ful” for the THA’s help.

“All I am beg­ging for now is a lit­tle more mon­ey,” she said, adding “I did what I could do as I can­not work or stand up­right for a long time. I get a pub­lic as­sis­tance grant and try to help my­self when I can.”

She has al­so raised $30,000 through do­na­tions and Bar-B-Que sales.

Her funds cou­pled with the mon­ey from the THA, still fall short of the $178,000.00 need­ed for the surgery. The short­fall in funds is ap­prox­i­mate­ly $50,000.

The Scar­bor­ough woman, who suf­fered a bout of rheumat­ic fever as a child, did a heart valve re­place­ment surgery in 2009 in the Mt Hope Hos­pi­tal. She was giv­en a pig’s val­ue, but it has since col­lapsed.

Al­though the surgery is still avail­able in Trinidad, her re­li­gious be­liefs pre­vent her from ac­cess­ing it.

As a Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness, she must now get a blood­less surgery. Her faith does not al­low pro­ce­dures in­volv­ing blood trans­fu­sion.

Cu­ba of­fers the same surgery with­out blood trans­fu­sion. How­ev­er, to get there and have the surgery done, she must have the to­tal amount of mon­ey.

Health and Well­ness Sec­re­tary Agatha Car­ring­ton could not be reached for com­ment on this is­sue.

Calls to her mo­bile phone went unan­swered. Her sec­re­tary said she was in a meet­ing and will re­turn Guardian Me­dia’s call, but up to press time now was re­ceived.


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