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Covid survivor seeks help from the public to raise funds for vital surgery

By Carlena Knight

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A man who survived Covid-19 is seeking the general public’s assistance in raising funds for medical treatment abroad.

During an Observer AM interview yesterday, Aldo McCoy disclosed that due to complications from the virus, he has to travel overseas for surgery which cannot be performed in Antigua and Barbuda.

According to McCoy, his current situation stemmed from the fact that because he couldn’t breathe during his ordeal, the doctors had to perform a tracheotomy on him.

This means that a hole was created in his throat and a machine was hooked up to help him breathe. However, during his recovery and following several minor surgeries at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, his throat has narrowed due to excessive scar tissue, and this is drastically affecting his airway and his breathing.

Because of this, the Paradise View resident was told by medical officials that he needs surgery urgently.

McCoy explained that it has been a trying time dealing with this problem.

“It’s kind of tough, but then, you just try to stay positive. I have done two dilatations to try and stretch it out so that it would not come back.

“I did one on June 1, and the second on July 3; that should just tell you how quickly it comes back, but after touching base with the doctor on the phone she could hear my breathing.

“I went in to see her in person, and right away she said I got to go on a plane. It’s so sad because nothing else can be done here to remove the stenosis [narrowing],” McCoy revealed.

The father-of-one said, based on the information he has received thus far, he hopes the fees will not surpass US$25,000 to travel to the US and complete the surgery.

“Well, I will be going to New York; I am going to Mount Sinai. They looked at my medical report and they said that they should be able to bring me some relief and I was relieved when they touched base with me personally.

“We are not sure of the cost as yet, but we had an estimate initially from Jamaica which was about US$17,000, but for New York, they said that it will be more than that.

“We were kind of playing with some figures but they said I would have to come and they would do the assessment. We are hoping that it does not exceed US$25,000.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed and keeping our faith in God that it will weigh on somebody’s mind to do a reduction or something,” he explained.

Along with trying to raise the funds through a GoFundMe page, McCoy and the Live and Let Live Crew will be hosting a fundraiser breakfast at the entrance to Yorks main road this Saturday, starting at 7am.

Contribution is EC$20 and interested persons can call Marlon “Buju” Charles at 774-4847, or McCoy at 736-5316 for tickets.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 survivor is pleading with residents to get vaccinated because he does not wish for anyone to go through the same ordeal he did.

He stated that although taking the jab doesn’t mean that anyone is 100 percent safe from contracting Covid, it will give you a fighting chance.

“I just want to urge them because … when I contracted Covid, initially I thought it was a cold and then after realising what it was, I thought to myself that I could fight this thing and be out the hospital in no time, but I didn’t envision walking into Mount St John, because I went there when it was MSJMC and got out when it was the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre.

“I walked in on February 10 [2021] thinking I would beat this and the next thing you know, when I woke up it was April,” he explained.

“It’s not easy and it is a tough thing to want to search for your breath and being unable to breathe. I don’t want anybody to experience that at all; I urge everyone to protect themselves.

“There’s always this story with the vaccine but at least it will give us a fighting chance to stay alive for our friends, our family and our community, so take that vaccine.

“I took the vaccine; I took Pfizer. I didn’t have any side effects at all and I am like the weakest link right now and at least I have a fighting chance, and now I can be able to travel to do this surgery because, as the doctors say, if I don’t do it soon, the next time they see me I might be rushing into the emergency room because I cannot breathe at all,” he said.

McCoy was the third person in Antigua and Barbuda to survive on ventilator support and be released after he was infected with the coronavirus.

He was admitted to the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre on February 10 after feeling ill for two days. It was then confirmed that he had tested positive for the virus.

His condition deteriorated significantly and he was placed on ventilator support for over two months.

During that time, McCoy was in and out of consciousness and suffered other complications including pneumonia and heart failure as the Villa/Point native revealed his heart stopped beating a few times.

He was discharged from hospital on May 4 of this year. 

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