Family claims asthma patient died after being refused treatment

September 10, 2021
Andre Lodge
Andre Lodge
Andre Lodge
Andre Lodge

An asthmatic Portmore man died on Tuesday, mere hours after he was allegedly denied service at a private health facility in the Corporate Area.

The man, Andre Lodge, 24, died at the Spanish Town Hospital. His family members allege that he suffered an asthma attack while on the job and sought treatment at the private facility about 3 a.m., but was told that due to him being in respiratory distress he would need to demonstrate that he did not have COVID-19 or has been vaccinated against the virus.

Pump did kinda low

Lodge's girlfriend, Michelle Eubanks, told THE WEEKEND STAR that Lodge was taken to the facility by a co-worker.

"Him come to the workshop and the attack was on him. He had a pump and the pump did kinda low, so we had to go for one for him. When we went for it and give him, him use it and that calm him down a bit. After dah point deh we realise that wasn't enough for him," the co-worker said.

He said that when they arrived at the medical facility, Lodge told the security guard that he was having an asthma attack and needed to see a doctor.

"Him open the gate enough fi make the young man walk in. Not even 10 minutes nuh pass and mi see the man walk out and him seh to me seh 'bwoy Benji, yuh know seh a bay foolishness dem a tell me though. Them a tell me seh me fi do COVID test, and them tell him fi go home go use him nebuliser or some something like that," he added.

The CEO of the healthcare facility said that he has heard about the matter, but was not in a position to comment on it. He referred THE WEEKEND STAR to the head matron, but efforts to contact her were futile at press time.

Eubanks said that her boyfriend left the health facility and headed home, where he decided to use his nebuliser. However, when his breathing did not improve, she made arrangements to take him to the Spanish Town Hospital, even using the pump in the car. It did not help as Lodge was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

Lodge's brother, Alex, who also has asthma, said he is appalled at the lack of care that his brother received.

"This is not about money or anything cause nothing can bring back Andre. I want to let these medical staff know that asthma is not like broken arm or something where you can tell someone go home and rest off. It's something where you cannot breathe," he said.

"I don't know if someone ever choke you yet but for you to tell someone who is telling you they cannot breathe, they're dying, based on the fact they are having an asthma attack, and you have the audacity to send them home?" Like Alex, Eubanks said her hope is that people treat asthma with the same seriousness as COVID-19.

"Before COVID came in, people were having asthma all along. Right now, if you are sick and you are wheezing, they're gonna say is COVID you have. There needs to be an awareness for asthma people! The cannot take it so lightly," she said.

Lodge's case is the second involving an asthma patient to have surfaced since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March. Jalisa McGowan, 17, died at the Andrews Memorial Hospital on February 26, after she was allegedly refused medical assistance at the University Hospital of the West Indies while experiencing an asthma attack.

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