By Latrishka Thomas
A flood of information has been streaming into the inbox of Keoma Hamer since she publicised allegations against medical staff at the Holberton Hospital whom she claims lied to her when they told her that her twin girls were stillborn in 2004.
Hamer told OBSERVER media that she received information on one child who she was told resides in Antigua.
The child is of the correct age and bears a resemblance to Hamer.
In June, Keoma Hamer’s allegations went viral after she called on the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda to investigate what happened on September 7, 2004 when she delivered her babies on the Gwynneth O’Reilly Ward.
In fact, in early June, the police and the Ministry of Health began their investigation by questioning three now-retired nurses that Hamer identified by name in her Facebook posts.
But since then, Hamer said she has not heard a word from the authorities despite having shared a possible breakthrough for the investigation with the government.
Hamer suspects that, based on the information received, that the young girl identified could be her daughter.
She has especially come to that conclusion because, according to her, photos sent to her reveal that the child has similar features including pigmentation on her lips which both Hamer and her sister share due to a genetic condition.
On her Facebook page Hamer is seen referring to this condition as Peutz Jegher Syndrome which is not only characterized by hyperpigmentation, but also severe abdominal pain and possible vomiting.
She claims that there is a 50/50 chance that her daughters could have the same syndrome.
Noting this, the St. Martin resident said that having not heard from the police or other authorities, she is beginning to wonder if the matter is not being taking seriously.
“It’s been rough, it’s been rugged. It’s been really really rugged…. when I know the investigation is going on or when I’m told that an investigation is going on and I don’t hear anything at all from the police in Antigua, I start to think all sort of stuff like this is a joke or a sham.
“On a personal note I am good, but this is so heavy…My life basically feels like it’s at a standstill. I feel as though I am hovering over my life and I am not moving. I’m just right here dealing with this and all of my life’s attention is focused on this situation – my children,” she said.
Meanwhile, the 34-year-old, however, said that she is thankful that Minister of Health Molwyn Joseph has kept in contact with her although tight-lipped about the investigation.
“I appreciate the fact that out of all of the government officials, he is the only person I have ever spoken to and to the police I hope that they will reach out for me but to the general public of Antigua, grateful is not even profound enough. I am very, very grateful, highly appreciative of the fact that so many residents reached out to me expressing support, expressing love and compassion; and they check- in, not just when I make a post, but they actually check-in with me from time to time,” she shared
She said she is also happy that her story has had an impact on others.
She said: “Since I shared my issue on Facebook, since I shared what happened to me on social media, several persons have also reached out to me saying the very same thing or something similar has happened to them as well. So I am very grateful that the fact that I came forward and spoke about my situation – even though my situation has not been resolved- that there are several persons who also reach out to me and share their personal experience…which is similar to what happened to me.”
Hamer has since started a GoFundMe page where she is attempting to raise US $150,000 to assist with legal fees.
She explained why, saying that, “This is not just a case where I’m gonna sit by and let the government do their part; I have a lawyer. So, in order for me to maintain a lawyer, I need to pay legal fees.”
In addition, she said her lawyer has advised her to allow the supposed investigation to pan out for a while longer.
Hamer was allegedly travelling alone from Guyana and she was at the V.C Bird International airport in Antigua, in transit to her home country, St. Martin.
She was seven months pregnant and according to her, her last ultrasound in Guyana had revealed that her twin girls were in good health and fully formed.
Hamer said she fell ill at the airport and was rushed to the Holberton Hospital, and when she arrived at the state-owned facility, she was admitted to the Gwyneth O’Reilly Ward #70904 rather than the maternity ward.
She claimed that during her stay, she was “severely neglected and mistreated” as nurses seldomly attended to her.
“So many times, I called out to nurses for assistance and they hardly showed up causing me to urinate many times in that little, black garbage bin near by my bed,” she disclosed.
In her account of the evening of September 7, 2004, she further claimed that she called out to nurses several times for assistance to use the bathroom to no avail.
She further alleged. that the ill-treatment continued when, “Not long after, while sitting on a bed pan, placed in a plastic chair, I felt something touching me. I, who was never in labour before, looked down, saw toilet paper in the bed pan, I threw it in the nearby bin then kept sitting, shortly after, I felt something touching me again…as I looked down it was a black ball coming out of me; I was in the middle of giving birth. No nurses present, no doctors, no healthcare professional was present just me and that one patient who stood beside me.
“I gave birth on my own, after nurses left the room with my babies, absolutely no other nurses, doctors…no one, returned to attend to me. Nurses never cleaned me up, never removed my placenta…that was done by me and the patient. In fact, the sanitary napkins I used that night was the patient’s,” she continued.
After giving birth, Hamer said that she recalls her babies crying while being taken from the room yet a few hours later, she was told that her babies were stillborn.
She never saw her babies again, nor was she given a death certificate.