There was an outpouring of emotions at Palm Court, Spanish Town Road, St Andrew on Wednesday as family members, residents and friends of burn victim Kerry-Ann Collins got the sad news of her passing.
The 25-year-old Collins battled for almost three weeks at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) after receiving third-degree burns to most of her body on November 27 but lost the fight at about 9:25 Wednesday morning.
According to Stephen Josephs, Project Manager of Sanmera Foundation, which was assisting to raise funds for Kerry-Ann Collins medical expenses, she should have departed the island later on Wednesday for the United States for surgery and other treatment.
Collins, however, had to be resuscitated for airlift transportation by Trinity Air Ambulance to Doctors’ Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, but during the resuscitation process, she died.
The news was unbearable for her mother, Delcita Anderson, who fell to the ground immediately and wailed for minutes before being assisted to a settee by other residents of the inner-city community. They remained with Anderson for hours while consoling her.
“Oh God, Jesus, mighty God, have mercy. Why me Lord, why me? Mighty God of Daniel,” Anderson wailed after falling to the ground on hearing the news.
“She dead, mi caan believe. My last baby was gone. A mi last pickney unuh. How mi a guh live without her. She is so dear to me. Nobody knows. Jesus she dear to mi. Why she pass on?” added the grieving mother. “Mi never si nothing like this. Nice girl, loving girl, caring girl. She cares fi mi. How much I can bear,” Anderson cried.
In another residence in the corner of a bed with her feet hanging down sat sister, Fellicia Collins. The residents had deliberately kept Anderson and Fellicia apart in their efforts to comfort them individually while they grieved about Kerry-Ann’s state after her injury.
On hearing the news, Fellicia’s eyes swelled up before tears streamed down the sides of her face as emotions take hold.
“Mi never know she would a dead in 2020,” was the most of Fellicia’s immediate verbal reaction, except to stress that if she had the required money, Kerry-Ann Collins would not have died.
Like the mother and sister, many of the residents and friends who had gathered on the fourth floor of the high-rise housing development where Kerry-Ann Collins lived, were brought to tears on hearing of her death.
Some sobbed loudly, while for others, tears flowed abundantly without even a whimper. They too were hard to console, although, in their grieving state, they offered a hand of assistance to either Anderson or Fellicia, or uttered some comforting words.
At the foot of the building and spread out across a major portion of the complex, other residents loudly voiced their disgust at Kerry-Ann Collins death. They comforted themselves by casting blame on all and sundry, including their Member of Parliament (MP), Dr Angela Brown Burke.
On November 27, Kerry-Ann Collins was getting ready to prepare a meal when the gas stove intended to use, exploded, engulfing her in flames, which had to be doused by Anderson, who also had to put out the fire caught other sections of the dwelling.
Kerry-Ann Collins’ condition after being highlighted by Loop News and other media entities, drew an outpouring of understanding from the public, who gave money towards enabling her to seek medical assistance overseas, as the facilities on the island were reportedly not able to help her, based on the severity of her injuries.
She would have left the island Wednesday for Doctors’ Hospital, where it was planned to stabilise her condition in preparation for skin grafting and plastic surgery that she was to have done at Kendall Memorial Hospital in Florida.