Tragic death

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Friday, May 3, 2013


ON April 22, Leah Gayo, a licensed teacher in the Philippines, was in the delivery room in one of the hospitals in Auckland, New Zealand.

She was expecting a normal delivery, and her husband Norman, a former pastry chef of Shangri-la Mactan, was looking forward to seeing her wife and the baby later in the day. But that wasn’t how things turned out.

I talked to Norman on May 1. He was composed as he narrated to me how he reacted when told by the doctor that his wife was undergoing complications of pregnancy. He could not contain his anger that he threw the cell phone on his hand towards the wall.

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With all the modern equipment and highly-trained health practitioners, the hospital failed to recognize the potential danger that his wife and child would undergo. He later apologized to the doctor.

Leah died while delivering her infant child. The baby boy-–to be christened Leandro--was saved and is now in the pink of health.

While all of the expenses in the hospital were shouldered by the government (a standard practice in New Zealand), the grieving husband had to defray the costs of the funeral and travel. Out of respect for his parents-in-law, Norman agreed for Leah to be buried in her hometown in Ginatilan, Cebu.

The New Zealand Herald learned of the unfortunate incident and will run the story on Sunday. As president of the Katilingbang Bisaya sa New Zealand, I was asked on my reaction to the tragedy and what help our organization has extended to the family.

I said that we would support Norman in whatever action he would take, while at the same time give him advice once the coroner’s report will released.

We are currently raising funds to help the Gayo family settle liabilities as a result of Leah’s passage. (The couple's employer and many kindhearted friends have made donations.)

On the 8th day of prayer, I saw the supportive and helpful participation of a lot of people (mostly Cebuano friends of the family, as well as, brethren from Couples for Christ where Leah was actively involved.)

According to Norman, Leah had told him in the past that should anything untoward happen to her, she preferred that her husband and children remain in New Zealand.

With all the sacrifices she had made to migrate, Leah must have thought that it would be worth nothing if they’d return home. Little did she know that she would end up resting in the grounds of Cebu.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 04, 2013.

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