Tue | Jan 19, 2021

Burn surgery plea - Woman clings to life after kitchen blast

Published:Friday | December 4, 2020 | 12:30 AMJason Cross/ Gleaner Writer
Delcita Anderson, mother of Kerry Ann Collins, pleads for help for her daughter on Thursday. Collins was badly burned in a kitchen explosion at her Palm Grove Court home on Friday, November 27, resulting in third-degree burns.
Delcita Anderson, mother of Kerry Ann Collins, pleads for help for her daughter on Thursday. Collins was badly burned in a kitchen explosion at her Palm Grove Court home on Friday, November 27, resulting in third-degree burns.
Kerry Ann Collins.
Kerry Ann Collins.
Fellicia Collins, sister of Kerry Ann Collins, is overcome with grief after her sister clings to life.
Fellicia Collins, sister of Kerry Ann Collins, is overcome with grief after her sister clings to life.
The family of Kerry Ann Collins at their home in in Palm Grove Court, Kingston on Thursday. They are seeking financial assistance to help the 25-year-old burn victim.
The family of Kerry Ann Collins at their home in in Palm Grove Court, Kingston on Thursday. They are seeking financial assistance to help the 25-year-old burn victim.
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Tears streamed down the face of Delcita Anderson as she stomped and yelled inside her Kingston home, cursing the misfortune that had left her daughter, Kerry Ann Collins, clinging to life with third-degree burns after a freak explosion in her kitchen.

Collins’ family does not have a clue where they will find the treatment cost of US$773,000 (J$114 million), in addition to US$15,500 (J$2.3 million) to airlift her to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.

The 25-year-old had been performing the most routine of tasks – preparing a meal of noodles on Friday, November 27 – but forgot that she had turned on the stove without lighting it. Some time later, with fumes circulating throughout her Palm Grove apartment, all it took was for one match to light the flame of tragedy.

“Everything blow up and bun har up! Di whole a har skin come off and now she a battle fi life dung a KPH!” said Anderson, 51, while pleading for help from Donald Tapia, the American ambassador to Jamaica.

Anderson is fearful that fate might hand her a second consecutive December tragedy after her mother died exactly a year ago.

The crisis turns the spotlight on Jamaica’s capacity to effectively treat burn patients in ordeals that can be both traumatic and expensive.

Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), the main state healthcare facility in the Corporate Area, does not have a functional burn unit, Stephen Davidson, the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ point man on communications confirmed Thursday night.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told The Gleaner that The University Hospital of the West Indies, in Papine, St Andrew, operates a burn unit, but patients may have to seek overseas assistance because of the severity of the wounds.

The pain was palpable on Thursday as the heartbroken mother recalled how Collins stood by her side when she underwent surgery to remove a tumour from her ear.

The emotion sparked from constant flashbacks of Collins’ badly burnt body was too much for best friend Shamone Williams, who lifted her pal down several flights of stairs and into a neighbour’s car in a frantic bid to get her to KPH.

Williams said she and Collins grew up together and were like sisters.

“It is really rough to see her in this position. We need the public to come together and help. She can’t just go down like that” Williams pleaded.

The sight of Collins’ exposed flesh sent pangs throughout the body of Byron Anderson, her uncle.

He appealed to celebrities “to come out for this wonderful, sweet and beautiful black angel” who has a bright future.

“The situation is not pretty. When I see how she look pon di phone, she well stripped!”

Persons wishing to assist financially speedy recovery can contact the family at 876-361-1906 or 876-803-9353.