Mom hit hard by young Jhazarea's death
Kerry-Ann Francis has been on sleeping pills ever since her princess, Jhazarea Blackburn, slipped away from her. Young Jhazarea died on October 30, about two weeks after she was admitted at the Bustamante Hospital for Chidren with sickle-cell disease.
"Her bag is still where it is supposed to be. I go through her clothes, I smell her clothes. I watch her videos and I break down. I roam the streets at nights because I can't stay inside my house," the Matthews Lane, Kingston, resident said.
Francis, 40, who has two other children, said Jhazarea, two, was special.
"She was my company. ... I don't know if it is because she is the only child that I had a C-section with, but I felt different about her. I love all my kids, don't get me wrong, but when they cut me and take her out and put her on my chest, I felt different. Something was just different," Francis said.
The baby is also the daughter of footballer Marcelino Blackburn. Francis said that contrary to a comment made by the Harbour View player in an article published last Friday, she acted in a timely manner when the baby became ill.
Blackburn said that the baby could have lived much longer if they had taken her to the doctor much sooner.
"It is just an unfortunate situation that she ended up going to the doctor late and the doctor told us she should have come a day before. They told us that the baby came to the doctor late when the disease had already hit her brain, causing it to swell," Blackburn said.
However, Francis said she did not delay in seeking medical treatment for the child. She has sought to challenge the truthfulness of Blackburn's statement.
"She woke up Wednesday morning and she felt warm. As long as she is feeling warm, I don't send her to school because I don't like fever," she said.
Francis said she gave the child Panadol and Cataflam during the day and her condition improved. However, by Thursday, the baby felt warm, indicating that she had a fever. She said that she took the baby to the doctor, who told her that it might have been as a result of the flu. He prescribed medication for the child and Francis said she followed his advice and kept the baby hydrated. Francis said the baby appeared to be doing well when she went to bed that Friday night.
However, she said things took a turn for the worse on Saturday morning when she leaned over to give her her regular morning kiss.
"I saw both of her eyes fixed to the right side of her face," the mother said. She told The STAR that the child was moaning when she picked her up, and that her head appeared fixed to one side. She said that she immediately called a taxi and rushed the baby to the hospital.
Later that day, doctors told Francis that Jhazarea's respiratory system had failed. She then slipped into a coma, from which she never woke up.
"She has never been sick, she is always smiling," a tearful Francis told THE STAR. "People just see her once and are attracted to her."
Pointing to a court order from the Family Court which compelled Blackburn to pay child maintainance, Francis said the footballer was virtually absent from the child's life. She believes that he missed out on an opportunity to be a father to young Jhazarea.
The baby's funeral will take place next Wednesday.
Repeated attempts to have Blackburn respond to the issues raised proved futile up to press time.