Family pleads for help to care for motherless 5-month-old girl

Phyllis Carter with two of her grandchildren that she cares for
Phyllis Carter with two of her grandchildren that she cares for

By Davina Ramdass

Sunita Vandyke, who died six days after removing her eye at the Suddie Hospital in Region Two, has left six children behind for relatives to care for, something that has become a major challenge.

The now dead woman’s mother-in-law, 59-year-old Phyllis Carter of Parika, East Bank Essequibo, recently reached out to this publication to share her story. Carter has been taking care of Vandyke’s two small children since her passing.

According to her, after her daughter-in-law died, her relatives also took custody of the other children.

She said her son, 32-year-old Brian Oswald, is self-employed and makes television antennas for a living and does not want his baby to be taken away from him, as the child is one of the only memories he has of his late wife.

Although the man loves his daughter dearly, he is afraid that he may not be able to take care of her, his mother said, as his earnings are hardly enough to feed himself at the end of the day.

The worried grandmother said it is hard to look at her son every day, fighting to earn a daily bread, as his business has been really slow over the past few months.

Five-month-old Rebecca Thorne

Carter, who is unemployed at this point, said her husband, 70-year-old Raymond Carter, depends on his pension to sustain the family. She said the pensioner would usually take up “day works” around the community, but has been unable to do so due to his health deteriorating.

She said that her husband’s monthly allowance is hardly able to feed everyone in the house since most of it goes towards paying bills.

She, however, noted, as she hid her tears behind her voice, that it has not only been financially challenging for the family, but physically as well.

According to her, she wakes up several times during the night with the little baby, who appears to be looking for her mom. In fact, Carter said that the now dead woman’s other children sometimes even ask where she is.

The family is now seeking assistance from the public to be able to care for the little children. Carter said the family is willing to accept clothing for the children, food stocks and even financial assistance. Persons who would like to make a donation to the family can do so by contacting the widower’s mother on cellphone number 687-7302.

The mother of six, Sunita Vandyke died in May at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) two days after being referred there from the Leonora Hospital in Region Three because of the severity of her condition.

The young mother who had been admitted at the Georgetown Public Hospital had one of her eyes removed without any proper explanation, although she had never had any medical complication with her eye.

She had been taken to the Parika Health Centre, where the nurses had administered saline. After receiving the saline, she had started complaining of blurred vision.

She explained that after her daughter-in-law had continued to complain about having blurred vision, she had taken her to the Leonora Cottage Hospital, from where doctors had transferred her to the West Demerara Regional Hospital.

However, she had taken Vandyke to the GPHC after the eye problem had worsened and Vandyke’s condition had deteriorated. “We meet GPHC Emergency (Department) with the eye draining inflammation and the nose bleeding, and they said, ‘That’s not an emergency’. And we waited several hours and were sent away without seeing a doctor.

“I even went to the boss upstairs to complain that we were not getting to see a doctor, and still we could [not] get help; we were sent away,” Carter said.

The woman’s health condition had gotten worse, to the point where she had been unable to walk, and had stopped speaking. Since the incident, she had been in and out of hospital, and had been unable to care for her newborn.