Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 23rd 2016 Contents SHALIZA HASSANALI
In under one week 600-pound Marissa Nel-
son will be admitted to the Eric Williams Med-
ical (EWMSC) where she would undergo an
intense weight loss programme by a team of
Once the weight is shed, Nelson would have
two surgeries done by the country's leading
gastric bypass surgeon, Dr Dilip Dan.
Also her bedroom would be repaired, tiled,
painted, furnished and air-conditioned in the
The commitment was given to Nelson yes-
terday by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh,
who visited her Johnson Street, Valencia, home
with Social Development and Family Services
Minister, Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn, and
Toco/Sangre Grande MP, Glenda Jennings-Smith,
to render assistance.
Last Tuesday, the 32-year-old woman pleaded
with Government to intervene and provide spe-
cialist medical care, urgent medication and a 24-
hour caregiver in the T&T Guardian and on
CNC3 television, which led to an outpouring of
Nelson suffers with lymphoedema, which has
left her limbs enormously swollen and overweight.
For the past four years Nelson has been con-
fined to her bed because of her medical condition
She lives alone and depends on the generosity
of her neighbours and her 68-year-old mother,
Sylvia, who is an amputee, for assistance to do
the simplest of chores.
Deyalsingh and Crichlow-Cockburn thanked
Guardian Media Ltd for bringing Nelson's plight
to their attention.
Overjoyed by the news, Nelson said after nine
years of pleading, help had finally come her way.
"I am really happy and excited for all the atten-
tion I have received. I think I made history. It's
a bit overwhelming. Where there is life there is
"I know this is not going to happen overnight
but I am willing to do whatever it takes to get
my life back and health back on track. It has
been long overdue. I don't intend to spend another
ten years here while my life is just wasting away,"
Deyalsingh said having spoken to Chief of
Staff at the EWMSC Dr Andy Bhagwandass, the
ministry was prepared to put together a team of
doctors, including Dr Dan, to help Nelson's health
Deyalsingh said the team of doctors would be
from San Fernando General Hospital, EWMSC
and Sangre Grande Hospital.
"Before we can do surgery we have to assess
you medically. We are going to put you on a
weight lost programme. We are prepared to make
a special bed for you in Mt Hope and once you
can come down to a certain weight and is fit for
surgery we will start a two-part surgery on a
"We are prepared to do all of that. So you
have the whole Government behind you."
Deyalsingh said that would be a permanent
solution to Nelson's weight battles.
From next week, Deyalsingh said Nelson would
be medically assessed following which doctors
would put her on the programme.
"Once she starts to lose the weight... she would
have to undergo some light physio until she is
done... to fight the weight to do the surgeries."
Deyalsingh said it was all up to Nelson's deter-
mination and will power to shed the pounds so
it was impossible to give a time frame when the
surgeries would take place.
"I am making you a promise. When you leave
this room to go for surgery we will make sure
that this room is refurbished. So when you come
back... you will come back as a new person to
a new room. I will get some private sector help
so that is an incentive to leave here and come
to the hospital," Deyalsingh.
However, Nelson said she was willing to go
the full distance to reduce her size.
"I am willing. I have the support. I am getting
the help and whatever it takes I am going to do
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Marissa begins weight
loss in week's time
T&T Guardian's Shaliza Hassanali offers comforting words to Marissa Nelson, who has been the
subject of ridicule since her plight was highlighted by Hassanali in the newspaper. PHOTO: NICOLE
Health Minister Terrence
Deyalsingh expects an autopsy
report into the death of 31-year-
old Sheevana Sookram on his desk
On Tuesday, Sookram died at the
Sangre Grande Hospital while her
baby was stillborn, leaving family
members to believe that negligence
was the cause.
Deyalsingh said he was awaiting
on Sookram's autopsy report.
"Until, we get that we cannot
make any declaration," he added.
He said it was obvious that some-
thing happened "that was incom-
patible with life so that is why the
baby was stillborn. Outside of that,
I cannot say anything as yet."
Told that family members of
Sookram's family had complained
that there was poor communication
between them and the Eastern
Regional Health Authority, Deyals-
ingh said there were two versions
to a story.
"I am not going to pour gasoline
on that fire because somebody has
died. I want to focus on the sadness
of the family. I don't want to get
into a public spat with who say
what or who didn't say what. That
is not going to help the situation,"
He said an official autopsy report
"should be on my desk tomorrow.
Once you have a maternal event
like this within 24 hours a prelim-
inary report would go to the CMO
and then the CMO would report to
"So the preliminary report did
come within 24 hours. That's why
we were able to know what we
knew. So we have to wait for the
final autopsy report."
He said he has insisted on that
In the preliminary report, Deyals-
ingh said no cause of death was
given to Sookram while her baby
was reported to be stillborn.
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