- Kuwait Times Extra
KUWAIT: Eight months after suffering a severe stroke, a Filipina patient, whose story appeared in the Kuwait Times in July 2012, is now reunited with her family. Loida Lai Dang Aeon’s (Dang-Awen) story captured the heart of many as she endured a heartbreaking battle after a severe stroke, coupled with unfriendly remarks by two Philippine embassy officials here who allegedly said to ‘let her die in hospital’; as the cost of repatriating a dead body is far cheaper than a bedridden one. The sad remark was denied, although her employer, who quoted the officials, said she would stand by her claim, submitting a two-page affidavit — a copy of which was given to the Kuwait Times.
Earlier, her employer submitted an appeal for assistance to the Philippine Embassy and also to government agencies back in Manila for help, since she admitted to having no job to shoulder the expensive costs of repatriating Loida. Her pleas for assistance have until now received no response. Loida at that time needed around KD4000 for her repatriation, but instead of extending help, the embassy personnel allegedly told the employer to ‘let Loida die in hospital’ since the cost of repatriating a dead body is cheaper.
However, the employer did not stop appealing for help from various charitable organizations here. Filipino organizations also expressed a desire to help raise the amount, one of them being the True Oversea Pinoy Association (TROPA). But even before they could raise the amount, the ‘Kuwait Patient Helping Fund’ took the initiative to shoulder the entire cost of repatriating Loida. The money for Loida was approved by Kuwait Patient Helping Fund in early August. “It was an answered prayer for Loida and her family. We at TROPA pray for her immediate recovery,” said Carlito Galaus, TROPA Vice President, who headed the fund drive initiative even before Kuwait Helping Fund shouldered the cost.
He told Kuwait Times they were fully prepared to raise the amount in order for Loida to be reunited with her family. “When we read the news in Kuwait Times, we were all moved and ready to help in whatever way we could. But when we heard about Kuwait Helping Fund shouldering the entire cost, it was good news, so the initial amount which we already collected was also given to Loida. We had collected KD170 in just a few days, and it was mostly donations from our members and friends,” Galaus added.
Loida, who is from Abra, Philippines, suffered a severe stroke on January 25, 2012. She was admitted to Al-Amiri Hospital but was eventually shifted to Ibn Sina Hospital for an emergency decompressive craniotomy and was operated on for the second time the following day. Loida has recovered from the surgeries, but still is not able to talk. She could only respond by smiling, and if requested could wave her right hand, although her left hand remains unresponsive.
She is no longer paralyzed. In fact, the initial KD4000 cost of repatriation was reduced to only a few hundred. Loida was sent to the airport by ambulance from Ibn Sina Hospital on Sunday evening. Since she is still a patient and could not move her body alone, doctors advised her employer to send her with an assistant. Loida’s face seemed to convey great excitement while being transferred from the ambulance to a wheelchair. But as to whether it was her real feelings, we don’t know, as she could not speak.
Casley Watamama, a Kuwait-based Philippine Overseas Labor Office personnel, was seen at the airport assisting Loida. He was advised to do so by Philippine Labor Attache to Kuwait David Des Dicang, who assisted Loida through the immigration processing. Dicang also promised assistance would be provided by OWWA and POLO personnel at the airport in Manila once they arrived. “Loida will be treated with the utmost care. We already informed the central office back in Manila about Loida’s arrival and they are expecting her tomorrow [yesterday]. She will be assisted and they are going to meet with her family,” Dicang told Kuwait Times.
Loida’s employer, who helped her from day one up until her final day in Kuwait, said: “I am very delighted to see her face happy. I did my best for her and I hope that she’ll be fine in Manila now that she is with her family. I will be sending some of the medicines she needs as soon as possible,” the employer noted.
By Ben Garcia, Staff Writer
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