A Dominican woman living in St. Martin is searching for an explanation for the death of her 11-year-old son.
According to a report on smn-news.com, Olivier Laurence died on December 15 after becoming ill on November 27. His mother, Catherine Simon, claims that she constantly sought attention from medical authorities, including a private doctor and medical workers at the Louis Constant Fleming Hospital. However, authorities did not seem to be able to provide a concrete diagnosis. She said although the child was not tested, doctors suggested that he had dengue and gave him medicine, including a syrup, and told her that the child would get better.
When the child became more sick Simon asked for documentation to transfer him to a Martinique or Guadeloupe hospital, but was told that this was not necessary.
The child’s condition continued to deteriorate and when he had an adverse reaction to a blood transfusion, doctors began making the arrangements to have him moved to Martinique, but it was too late. The boy died en route to the island. She has been told that he may have been suffering from an infection which attacked his vital organs.
Simon’s anguish was evident in her interview with smn-news. An illegal resident in the Caribbean island, she cannot make demands or travel as freely as she would wish. She had been unable to leave the island to travel to Martinique to make arrangements for the transporting of her son’s body.
Simon arrived in St. Martin in 1996 and has been employed there, but her application for residency on the French side of the island has been denied on a number of occasions. She saidher son, now dead, had also been affected by her illegal status as he was not allowed to go on a class trip off the island. Attempts to return to Dominica with the child were also thwarted, by Dominican authorities who would not accept him as he was born in St. Martin and not in possession of a travel document.
As Simon tries to ascertain what exactly killed her son, she is also struggling to arrange for his body to be transported to St. Martin where he was born. She has already refused an offer by a social worker to have the body cremated in Martinique and the ashes returned to her. She has been told that she has no right to contest or fight to bring the body back to St. Martin since she is residing there illegally.