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Still stuck and unable to get cancer care

Still trapped on the island months after she was stopped from getting cancer treatment abroad, Cherrie Woods wonders if she would be better off incarcerated.

“It's like I'd have to get locked up to get help — they let people in Westgate who have cancer get treatment,” said the 49-year-old, who has advanced cervical cancer.

Losing weight and repeatedly sent to hospital for blood transfusions, Ms Woods appears to be no closer to securing permission to travel than she was in March, when she shared her story with The Royal Gazette.

Ms Woods has more problems than her stage two cancer: a Magistrates' Court trial date is set for next month, for the charge of allowing cannabis to be sold on her premises.

Her problems worsened last year, when she missed a court appearance because she was receiving chemotherapy.

The court later acknowledged that an arrest warrant issued for her ought to have been discharged when she later appeared before the magistrate.

Instead, that warrant resulted in her being detained by United States marshals in February when she attempted to fly for her next stage of treatment at the Lahey Clinic.

Ms Woods has been stopped from travelling ever since — for reasons lately ascribed to “moral turpitude” in a letter from the US Foreign Service.

A letter from Magistrates' Court quashing the warrant and granting leave to travel from April to July has been of no avail.

Nor have appeals to the US Consul, Government House or the Bermuda Government — despite further letters attesting that her next stage of treatment, radiation treatment deemed essential by the Bermuda Hospitals Board, cannot be obtained in Bermuda.

Ms Woods, unemployed and on financial assistance, has tried to find alternatives in the UK, but her latest option turned out not to be covered by her insurance.

“I've had seven blood transfusions since March,” she said, speaking on the morning of her latest discharge from King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

“I keep losing blood and getting sent back.

“I get out and I'm being sent in circles just trying to get my treatment.”

Her fiancé, Kevin DeRoza, worries that the stress, along with exposure to sick patients in the hospital, is worsening the toll.

He explained that she was admitted on Sunday after dizziness and bleeding.

“She fainted and knocked her head,” Mr DeRoza said.

“She ends up in a room in the old part of the hospital with a few other people, no air-conditioning and a person who's coughing. It's stuff that she's not supposed to be subjected to.

“With the weight I've seen her drop, who knows what stage cancer she is now.”

The family hold out hope for an option in the UK, with help extended from the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association charity, but cannot understand why Lahey, the recommended hospital and also the closest, remains off limits.

She pointed to a story in The Royal Gazette yesterday of a cancer patient with drug convictions and a prison record getting a travel waiver for treatment at the same hospital.

“I just need to get out of this hole somehow,” she said.

“I've been discouraged so much, sometimes I don't even want to know more.”

Cherrie Woods, left, with her sister Keisha Woods-Taylor. (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

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Published June 08, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 08, 2016 at 7:52 am)

Still stuck and unable to get cancer care

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