EXPRESS readers opened their hearts and wallets yesterday to help a desperate couple pay for the medical test needed by their sick, newborn baby.
The test was not available at San Fernando General Hospital and cost $7,500 to be done at a private hospital.
However, due to a new directive from Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, the public hospital could not authorise the payment for the test until permission was granted by the Health Ministry.
As a result, Hamza Mowlah and wife Asha made an appeal in yesterday's Express for help in raising the money, since they only had $3,500 and the appointment for the test at 1 p.m. yesterday.
Readers responding to the story contacted the Mowlahs, pledging contributions between $500 and $1,500.
By 10.30 a.m. the couple had the money to pay for the Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA), done at Southern Medical Clinic in San Fernando.
Hamza Mowlah, who is self-employed, told the Express his daughter, who is not yet named, was born at the hospital on Monday and doctors found the baby's feet were red.
The doctor caring for the baby at the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) gave Mowlah a letter on behalf of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), allowing him to make an appeal for funds.
SWRHA chief executive officer Anil Gosine said that for the past six weeks, all regional health authorities were instructed by the Minister of Health to stop paying for services needed by patients at private facilities, until approval was given.
Asha Mowlah said, "We are just so grateful and thankful to everyone of them who gave."
She said Mileage Mack Ltd at Union Hall in San Fernando donated $1,500; SRS Drugstore in Vistabella gave $1,000, and a mini-mart owner, also located at Union Hall, contributed $1,000.
Micon Marketing staff met her at San Fernando General Hospital to give her $1,500.
She said an official of the Prime Minister's Charity Golf Classic told her that a cheque for $1,500 would be deposited at Southern Medical Clinic and an unnamed woman called to say she would deliver a cheque for $500 to the clinic on the family's behalf.
And $1,500 was sent through Western Union from a woman in Sangre Grande to the family.
Asha said the baby, being treated at the high dependency unit, was taken by ambulance to Southern Medical Clinic for the test.
The test results will be taken to the hospital to be interpreted by doctors treating the baby.