Jamaican boy at SickKids for major surgery
September 30, 2017
If he wasn’t asked to tour the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Jamaica just over a year ago, Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist Wes Hall wouldn't have met Kenrick Bogle.
Invited by Jamaica’s Health Minister Dr. Chris Tufton, Hall was touched when he saw the young boy hooked up to a bunch of tubes in the five-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
He has been hospitalized since birth with tracheoesophageal fistula which is an abnormal connection between the trachea and esophagus that causes food and saliva to enter his windpipe and travel down into his lungs, initiating chest infections.
his esophagus does not end in his stomach and his trachea is attached to his lungs therefore inhibiting normal digestion and causing food to enter his lungshis esophagus does not end in his stomach and his trachea is attached to his lungs therefore inhibiting normal digestion and causing food to enter his lungshis esophagus does not end in his stomach and his trachea is attached to his lungs therefore inhibiting normal digestion and causing food to enter his lungsTurning five on October 26, the boy can’t walk, talk or eat on his own because of the condition.
Overwhelmed by Bogle’s plight, Hall was ready to act when Tufton asked if he could do something to help the boy get treated in Canada for his condition.
A SickKids Foundation board director since June 2013, the married father of five children immediately phoned the hospital. Unable to reach his contact right away, he got a return call a few minutes later while he was still at the hospital, setting the wheels in motion for Bogle to come to Canada.
Accompanied by Tufton, marketing specialist Lyndsey McDonnough, three hospital staff members and his father Peter Bogle, the boy arrived in Toronto on September 17 on a Sandals jet.
“When that plane landed, it occurred to me that finally something is happening and he’s going to get the treatment he needs,” said the boy’s father. “I felt a sense of relief as there have been so many stumbling blocks along the way.”
Bogle has been in the care of the Bustamante hospital staff since just a few days after his birth at Victoria Jubilee hospital.
“The love and encouragement of the staff is what have kept me going,” said the father who resides in St. Catherine.
When asked what he would say to Jamaican-born Hall, he said ‘no words can really truly express my appreciation.’
Hall, who two years ago was ranked 42nd in the Canadian Business magazine’s Power 50 grading of the country’s most powerful business people, made a promise to Bogle’s father that his young son will soon be at home to receive him on one of his visits to Jamaica.
Anaesthesiologist Brian James, ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr. Marsha James and senior ICU nurse Kiesha Walker cared for Bogle on the flight.
“Within a few months, it was clear that this child was going to be with us for a very long time,” said James. “We didn’t expect it to be almost five years. We probably see about two to three patients a year with a similar condition. What is unusual about Kenrick is the outcome after surgery. His breathing tube became very soft and we had to keep a plastic tube in there to keep it from collapsing and stopping him from breathing.”
James said Bogle, who has undergone close to 15 surgeries, is the hospital’s staff favourite patient.
“This boy has grown up with us,” he pointed out. “His mother was devastated by the fact that he has all these problems and we didn’t’ see her a lot. His father came reasonably regularly. He was the first person evacuated by support staff when there was a fire in the ICU last February. When Kenrick was leaving the hospital for Canada, the staff surrounded the ambulance to wish him goodbye and good luck and it took the attendants several minutes before they could close the doors. The boy has just touched everyone who has worked with him for such a long time.”
Tufton thanked Hall and other persons and organizations who stepped up to the plate to help Bogle get to Canada.
“Health care, for me, is something that’s non-negotiable,” he said. “No matter what position you hold, you need to be in good health to function to the best of your ability. We have an obligation as a society to do whatever is necessary and possible to make you better because we are talking about human life.”
While in Toronto, Tufton met with representatives from SickKids Hospital where Bogle – who is at the learning stage of a 10-month-old – is scheduled to undergo surgery this week.
“SickKids has demonstrated tremendous support and I want them to collaborate with us in Jamaica to promote public health,” he added. “We have some plans for a paediatric and adolescent facility in Jamaica and I would like them to be a key part of that to help us build that out as part of the model that they have which, I think, is a very successful one.”
McDonnough is the co-managing director of Market Me Consulting Jamaica.
As a supporter of the Bustamante Hospital, she brought Bogle’s case to the attention of Tufton and started a Go Fund Me Page to raise funds to help defray some of the boy’s medical expenses.
The surgery is expected to cost about US$320,000.
The cost of Bogle’s stay at the Bustamante Hospital since he was admitted shortly after birth is estimated to be nearly US$600 daily.