Relatives of a 14-year-old Venezuelan boy recently diagnosed with cancer want the authorities to allow staff at the Mt Hope hospital to save his life.
Doctors at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) recently diagnosed George Riad Haidar Maican with nodular sclerosis, a Hodgkin's lymphoma subtype. Research shows that with the correct treatment, this blood cell disorder can go into remission.
George has been hospitalised for the past four weeks at SFGH.
His worried aunt Lismar Valasquez, 34, told Newsday that about two months ago, he began complaining of having fevers (with temperatures over 39 degrees C), body aches and sweating.
"Two weeks after George was admitted, the hospital did a biopsy and later said he has cancer. This hospital cannot give additional help and doctors referred him to the Mt Hope hospital for additional treatment," Valasquez said. "On Tuesday, we (family) went to register him.
"But being an immigrant, the Mt Hope staff said they could not take him. Doctors said the only way for him to get chemotherapy and other treatment done is for the Government to give them permission to do so."
George lives with his father Rida George Haidar, 40, and other relatives at Waterloo Road in Carapichaima.
Praising San Fernando staff for their dedication to caring for the ailing child, Valasquez said doctors told the family on Thursday that a letter had been written.
"Doctors said they do not know how long it will take to get a response or permission. It could take months. His condition is worsening. He needs the help as soon as possible, and we do not have money to pay for private treatment," Valasquez explained.
"San Fernando doctors have been very helpful to the family. The hospital is giving him antibiotics and taking care of the fever. Just five minutes ago, his temperature was 39 degrees."
He has developed swellings on his neck, underarms, and other parts of his body.
"We were told that the doctors at Mt Hope are the ones to tell us what stage he is at and what treatment is best for him. His treatment may include six to ten chemotherapy sessions and/or surgical intervention. Time is running out."
She described George, originally from Maturin, as an active child who loves animals and football.
An official at the North Central Regional Health Authority promised to verify the claims and give feedback. Up to 5 pm, the information was not forthcoming.