Mon | Sep 28, 2020

Brain surgery patient on the mend

Published:Monday | August 3, 2020 | 12:18 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer
Members of the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association of Jamaica (CBFFAJ) came out in support of their colleague custom broker, Patrice Henry-Burford (second right), who requires urgent medical care abroad. Here Henry-Burfurd accepts the donati
Members of the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association of Jamaica (CBFFAJ) came out in support of their colleague custom broker, Patrice Henry-Burford (second right), who requires urgent medical care abroad. Here Henry-Burfurd accepts the donation from new CBFFAJ President Clive W. Coke and other members of the executive.

Patrice Henry-Burford underwent successful brain surgery last Thursday and is expected to be released from hospital in days.

Henry-Burford, who was featured in The Gleaner on July 20, had suffered two aneurysms and survived surgery.

However, during surgery to address that problem, doctors discovered that she had arteriovenous malformation, a rare condition that disrupts the flow of blood and oxygen circulation to the brain. It results in seizures, blackouts, and chronic headaches.

The Jamaican is not able to work because of the blackouts and memory loss and does not have the financial capability to cover her medical costs. Her family started a GoFundMe page to assist with her medical expenses.

Last week, the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association of Jamaica made a presentation of J$400,000 to Henry-Burford to assist with her brain surgery in Miami.

The association’s newly elected president, Clive Coke, said that his association raised the funds within three days, pointing out that Henry-Burford is herself a customs broker.

Coke said that the association was looking to raise additional funds to assist her cause.

“We were able to raise the $400,000 in three days, but our efforts to raise more funds are continuing. We know that she is the breadwinner for her family, and we wish for her a successful operation and a speedy recovery,” he said.

Henry-Burford‘s father is also battling ill health, The Gleaner understands.

The customs brokers’ president said that he has been in touch with Henry-Burford.

Treatment required gamma knife radiosurgery, which is not available in Jamaica. The Miami Neuroscience Center at Larkin offered to do the procedure at a basic cost of US$16,000, which includes surgery; post-op care; and housing, meals, etc. Written proof of the costs has been provided by the facility.

Gamma knife radiosurgery is a very precise form of radiation that focuses intense beams of gamma rays with pinpoint accuracy to treat lesions in the brain.

Despite the name, it involves neither traditional surgery nor an actual knife.

Henry-Burfurd’s blackouts and memory loss make it difficult for her to perform many simple chores.

“Sometimes I start out doing things, and in the middle, I forget what I was doing. Sometimes I even forget how to spell simple words. The memory loss is still there,” Henry-Burford said. “I have had several spells of blacking out, and I have no recollection of what I was doing,” she said.