Relatives of Freeport grandfather Haniff Ali were looking forward to planning a celebration for his 59th birthday next week. Instead, they are making preparations for his funeral.Ali, of Calcutta No 1, Freeport, died from dengue haemorrhagic fever around 1.35 am yesterday at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the San Fernando General Hospital, where he had been warded since last Tuesday.When the T&T Guardian visited Ali's home yesterday, relatives were still in shock and trying to come to terms with his death.
His daughter Krista, 23, said she was expecting her father to come home this week when they would have planned his birthday party for August 28.When the T&T Guardian arrived yesterday, relatives were removing a "Happy Birthday" banner from their front porch, which they had left hanging up in anticipation of Ali's birthday celebrations on his return.The banner, they said, had been there since they held a birthday party earlier in the month for Ali's granddaughter Celine, who turned eight.
Krista said her father was diagnosed with dengue last Saturday by their private doctor and was being treated with medication and intravenous (IV) drips. She said he was feeling better after that initial treatment.However, she said her father, a Revenue Officer IV at the Inland Revenue Office, Chaguanas, went to bed last Monday and woke up around 3 am bleeding.
"We called the ambulance and they rushed him to Couva Hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest. They rushed him to ICU and when he reached San Fernando General Hospital he was unstable. They were unable to stop the bleeding and they said his organs started shutting down," she added.She said the doctors told her mother Judy that his heart had stopped and that he might have suffered brain damage. Nevertheless, her father began improving last week, but "he could not move around."
"We were expecting him to come home. He was getting really good treatment in ICU. The doctors and nurses were stationed there 24 hours and they did everything they could but the condition he was in, they could not do anything for him," she said.Krista said her father was hard-working, a devote Muslim and a family man.Her sister Josanne Roopchan, 30, said her father's death could have been avoided if the area had been sprayed for mosquitoes. Her brother, Randall, 21, was too distraught to speak.
Roopchan said when her father was diagnosed with dengue, the Insect Vector Division came and sprayed their home, though no spraying was done in the area.A resident, who requested anonymity, said a month ago a child in their area also contracted dengue and was treated.Neighbours who were at the Alis' home to offer condolences said they had complained to the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation about vacant lots nearby and clogged drains which were breeding the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Yesterday, chairman of the corporation, Dave Persad, expressed his condolences to the Ali family. He said he was surprised to learn about cases of dengue being reported in the Freeport area, since the corporation had undertaken a "very rigorous" spraying programme.He promised to look into the complaints, adding he will have to inquire why the reports of dengue are not looked into and dealt with. (RR)