Four-day old baby dies before getting on ventilator

October 20, 2020

She died! Anique Whyte's newborn, who languished at Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary because the doctors were reportedly unable to get her on a ventilator, did not make it. She was four days old.

The baby, Jaekelia Brooks, who she called Faith, was born October 12. She weighed four pounds, was experiencing difficulties breathing on her own, and had to be placed in an incubator for support. Whyte said the doctors told her that Faith needed to go on a ventilator to improve her chances of survival but none was available at the hospital.

The doctors were reportedly trying to get Faith transferred to other hospitals, but it was not until THE WEEKEND STAR published the story of Whyte's desperate plea for help that the baby was sent to another facility. Whyte, 32, said that the Jamaica Defence Force airlifted the baby to St Ann's Bay Hospital about 3:30 Friday afternoon. However, only two hours after being taken there, the baby died.

"When I saw I was getting the help, it's like a burden lifted off my shoulder and then to get the bad news that she had passed away, the burden just got heavier and fall down on me without nuh warning at all. It was just devastating to know she passed," Whyte told THE STAR yesterday.

Her boyfriend and Jaekelia's father, Jamel Brooks, 27, recalled gazing at his newborn shortly after her birth, wondering whether she would become an athlete.

"When I saw her, she was very beautiful and she was really tall, and me say, I wonder if is a netballer this, because my (other) daughter, Janavia, loves to run. I had a lot of plans for her, words can't even explain," Brooks said.

Expected Faith to overcome

Like Whyte, he is struggling to come to terms with the loss of the baby, who he said wasn't breathing properly by the time she got her at St Ann's Bay Hospital and had a seizure while doctors tried to stabilize her. Brooks said that despite the problems at birth, he expected Faith to overcome. He told THE STAR that he has been experiencing flashbacks of his baby in the incubator breathing. "I pray God gives me strength to go on because trust me, it's not easy."

The loss is equally as painful for Whyte, a 32-year-old mother of two daughters, ages six and three, who has had five miscarriages.

"This baby is very precious to us. I am hoping for the best," she said, last Thursday as she made the heartbreaking cry for help, which apparently came too late.

As the couple awaits the autopsy results to determine the cause of Faith's death, Brooks has made a call for more ventilators be placed in hospitals to deal with cases similar such as Faith's.

"If they had just had enough space or ventilators or nurses in the island, my baby would still be alive today. Getting a child and losing her is really hard, you just have to be strong and know that the Lord knows best. The hospitals need more help and I wouldn't want that to happen to another person's child, so if they could get assistance to get more ventilators for babies being born, that would help," the St Mary resident said.

Jamaica, according to Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, had 118 ventilators in hospitals up to last month, a drastic increase up from the 35 that existed in April, shortly after to country had its first COVID-19 case.

Other News Stories