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FIVE months ago, Sophia Bent was stricken with the chikungunya virus (CHIKV). A week into her illness, her entire body began to swell and later, three visits to the doctors and a blood test revealed that her kidneys were badly damaged.

The single mother of four is now in need of either dialysis or kidney transplants in order to save her life. But with the waiting list at the Kingston Public Hospital being a lengthy one, Bent, 35, said she was advised by doctors there to get the dialysis done privately.

Dr Andrei Cooke, chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) said that the waiting list of persons who need to do dialysis is indeed a long one, and persons are sometimes given the option of seeking the service privately.

“Yes the list of persons waiting for dialysis at KPH, which is the major dialysis centre of the country, is long. What we tend to do is that if patients come in who are in a critical state we normally dialyse them at emergency, stabilise them, and then try to fit them in on our regular list,” Dr Cooke explained to the Jamaica Observer on Friday.

“We explain to them about the waiting list and give them the option that if they can afford it, they can opt to do it privately,” Dr Cooke stated. “We are in the process of implementing a third shift in the dialysis unit which would reduce the waiting time for people who need to be dialysed. So it’s a work in progress.”

But with the kidneys gone bad, Bent said that she cannot wait indefinitely and feels that doing it privately could very well save her life. An invoice dated January 15, 2015 from the Hope Dialysis Centre showed a total of $64,000 that she said she has no way of coming up with, based on her situation.

“My two kidneys are bad. I was completely alright before I got the chikungunya. But is since mi have it (CHIKV) I find out that I am sick. I went to the doctor and he gave me pills and so, but it still wasn’t helping so I went back to the doctor again because I was vomiting straight for about three months and I still wasn’t feeling good. So I went to another doctor and he sent me to do a blood test and that was how I find out that something wrong with my kidneys.”

But that was not the beginning of Bent’s troubles.

Shortly before she contracted the virus in September, she was turned out of the house that she shared with her common- law husband in Portland with her four children, by the children’s father. Since then, she has been living in a one-room rented house, sleeping on one bed.

“Since mi in hospital they throw out my things out of the house because mi owe rent. So mi just pack them up at somebody place and come up here to stay with my aunt,” she said of the Clarendon home she has been staying for the past week.

While Bent was in hospital her children had been staying with their grandmother, Perleta Patterson who said that she was not in a position to care for them and had even asked the Child Development Agency to take them away.

“She is a nice person,” Patterson said of Bent, upon a visit to the Observer’s offices three weeks ago. “She used to work in a shop before she get sick and she was the only one taking care of the four children. She lives in a one bedroom with the four kids and then the landlord told me the other day that she owed four months’ rent. It’s because she sick from September. The children not going to school. She has nobody at all to help support the kids. She gets a little PATH money and that’s it. My son is the children’s father but him not doing anything at all for them,” Patterson said.

Olga Wilson, the children’s grand aunt, said that Bent had even gone as far as taken him to the Family Court for maintenance and he did not turn up, resulting in a warrant being issued for his arrest. That was in 2014.

Patterson said that her son is a fisherman.

“He was living in the yard with me, it’s two houses,” Patterson explained. “Him have him own house. All I could do was give them what I have because I didn’t have much”.

When the Sunday Observer visited Bent at her aunt’s home in Clarendon, she said that the children have not been able to attend school since last year.

“They don’t start go to school from the year start. One of them get to go sometimes but the others not going,” she said.

Kemiesha Douglas, 17, the eldest of the lot who had attended Happy Grove High, said that she has not seen the inside of a classroom since last year September when her mother got sick.

Nickesha, 14, a grade eight student at the same school, has had the chance to attend a few times, courtesy of a relative.

“The big one had to come visit me in the hospital so she could not go school. But is not just that alone, it was the money too. I want them to start going to school up here but I don’t have the money,” said Bent.

“Sometimes I sit down and I think back on my four kids and say if mi dead leave the four kids, what would happen to them,” the mother said. “Them father don’t care. Him just sit down there and him don’t business with nothing. Him don’t business if they want to eat, so I don’t know how they would manage, because nothing to them like their mother and what they can do with me, they can’t do it with anybody else. So I would really like the help.”

She explained that she was put out by her common-law husband after 17 years because she would not agree with his ‘outside’ affairs.

Bent said that she is in need of money to do the dialysis, money to send the children to school and money to build on her aunt’s property so that she and the children can have somewhere to call home since she is now unable to work.


  1. This is just terrible!…hopefully she and her family will get the help and assistance they need..Lady, I wish you the best of luck and a very speedy recovery.. :rose: ..

  2. This is just a sad story, sometimes you wonder why things like this happen to certain individual and not to others, she was the only one taking care of the kids, the father is nowhere to be found, but yet he is running around probably being just another sperm donor to someone else, while this young lady who was the main provider, is now the one suffering, wishing her a speedy recovery, and some financial help.

  3. So something as critical as dialysis there is a waiting list? No sah! If ppl no get dialysis them dead in 2 weeks! A wah ago become a Jamaica eeh? Poor ppl a Jamaica cah done suffer. Tell mi weh dis woman an others like her ago get money fi pay fi private dialysis?! Meanwhile the gov’t a pay million an add fi one minister phone bill, the minister dem an madam portia a tek plane like taxi an a travel first class, u woulda neva believe Jamaica is a poor country the way how the gov’t behave, and poor ppl a dead fi something like dialysis. Dialysis is like oxygen, yuh cah live widout it. Bout “in the process of making a 3rd shift”. Are you fu**ing kidding me?!! Smfh

  4. Met, can you please post information about sending some help towards her treatments? I was a dialysis patient for three years, next month will be my anniversary since my transplant, thank God for the insurance I have, I didn’t have to worry about paying for treatments and worry how i will survive while I’m disable, Thank God for the good old U.S.A., I have a tender heart to all dialysis patients… Thank you.

    1. May God bless and keep you I know the road must have been a long and hard one. I know people who have died from kidney disease

  5. this is so sad I need to contact I don’t have alot but I am willing to share,pleease email me contact informatation.

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