Gravely-ill Raneiya Jemmott has her visa and will soon be headed to the United States (US) for advanced treatment.
On Tuesday, the seven-year-old girl’s mother Marcia Armstrong collected two visas from the US Embassy.
“I am thankful to the Embassy. I feel relieved. My family and I are happy,” Armstrong told Barbados TODAY.
Last week Friday, Armstrong told this newspaper that the child who was diagnosed with a heart condition and needed to seek urgent medical attention overseas, had to wait until June 12, for an interview at the US Embassy.
The mother had related that a month was too long to wait, since doctors had informed her that Raneiya who almost died from the illness in January, may not be able to travel if she has another relapse.
Doctors here also said there was nothing else they could do to help the child who was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)-a condition in which the heart’s ability to pump blood is decreased because the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, is enlarged and weakened.
Armstrong said on Monday, an official from the Embassy contacted her and asked her to visit the Wildey, St Michael Embassy the following day, for an interview.
Armstrong said she collected two ten-year visas for herself and Raneiya on Wednesday.
One person especially happy with the development was Raneiya’s uncle Elbert Ellis who said the family was now in the process of getting Raneiya’s medical records from doctors here to send to a hospital in the US.
“We are looking to get an appointment at the hospital for very early in June. There are some documents that we are still trying to get together from the hospital here that the specialist at the hospital over there can read and get a sense to prepare for the visit.
“We are also getting things sorted out with the insurance because with the insurance company, if you can get a procedure done here and you decide to go overseas they are unlikely to pay the claim.
“But as we said earlier, doctors here at QEH have done all that they can for Raneiya so she has to go away. In the absence of that letter from the doctor, the insurance company is unlikely to pay. She is stable right now, she is in good condition to travel and we want to maximize the opportunity to do so.
Ellis thanked officials at the US Embassy who read the story and acted swiftly so that Raneiya could get the visa to be able to travel.
He said he was especially happy that the visas they received would be valid for ten years, since they may be required to travel to the US frequently to attend doctor visits and for any required treatment Raneiya may need.
“Initially we were concerned that she may get a short period of time given the fact that it was medical. So even if they have to go back and forth they would be covered,” Ellis said.
During an interview with Barbados TODAY on Wednesday afternoon, Consular Officer, at the US Embassy, Joy Grainger, said the Embassy had a policy regarding expedited visa appointments.
She said persons who have valid emergencies that require travel to the US, were required to first make an appointment through the normal system on the Embassy’s website.
“Once they have done that, they can actually go back into the website with their confirmed appointment date, to request an expedited appointment. Specifically, what they would do at that point is to provide evidence of the reason for that expedited appointment request. So we are able to look at that and see if we have availability to add that expedited appointment to our schedule.
“Typically emergencies are for medical travel or an emergency for some sort of humanitarian reason, that requires them to travel to the US,” Grainger explained.