Health & WellnessLifestyles

Andrea Sweeting faces another medical challenge

Sister Sister president to receive device for heart failure patients who are also at high risk for sudden cardiac death; family crowdfunds to assist with mounting medical bills

Andrea Sweeting, Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group president, and a longtime advocate for others, is once again facing medical challenges. She is presently in the cardiac, coronary, cardiovascular intensive care unit (ICU) at Tampa General Hospital under observation, as her medical team determines the plan for her moving forward.

Sweeting’s prognosis, according to daughter D’Andrea Cary, is positive, as long as Sweeting is able to receive the appropriate medical interventions.

Sweeting will remain in the ICU for observation and has already been seen by a number of cardiologists and electrophysiologists.

Sweeting’s daughter, D’Andrea Cary told The Nassau Guardian that Sweeting was stable, doing good, alert, and completely aware.

“She’s very responsive – understands what’s going on,” said Cary. “They’re just running a number of tests to find out what’s the best treatment. Her prognosis looks good. They’re trying to strengthen her heart and follow through with the CRT-D device.”

On Monday, Sweeting was given a heart catheterization, a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is guided through a blood vessel to the heart to diagnose or treat certain heart conditions, such as clogged arteries or irregular heartbeats. According to the Mayo Clinic, cardiac catheterization gives doctors important information about the heart muscle, heart valves and blood vessels in the heart. During cardiac catheterization, doctors can do different heart tests, deliver treatments, or remove a piece of heart tissue for examination.

Cardiac catheterization is a common procedure done to diagnose or treat a variety of heart problems. A doctor may recommend the procedure if a person has irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), chest pain (angina) or heart valve problems, among other things.

One of Sweeting’s medical team’s immediate recommendations is that she receive a CRT-D (resynchronization therapy defibrillator), a special device for heart failure patients who are also at high risk for sudden cardiac death.

The cost of the device is $30,000.

While functioning like a normal pacemaker to treat slow heart rhythms, a CRT-D device also delivers small electrical impulses to the left and right ventricles to help them contract at the same time.

While Sweeting is at the “beginning of the road”, as far as treatment is concerned, due to not having medical insurance, she is in need of financial assistance for mounting medical bills.

Her family took to crowdfunding with a goal to raise $30,000 to jumpstart financial support for Sweeting’s treatments. Up to yesterday, the GoFundMe account for Sweeting had raised $38,240 in seven days and surpassed the family’s initial $30,000 goal.

They were grateful.

“We are overwhelmed by your generosity. You have truly left us lost for words with your contributions, love, and support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said Sweeting’s granddaughter Courtney Celeste Spears.

“We’ve got a long road ahead of us but, because of you, we have a place to start,” she said.

Anyone wanting to contribute to Sweeting’s medical bills can do so at, or alternatively at Andrea Sweeting’s RBC account – transit number 05135 Cable Beach, account number 7381882.

Shortly after Christmas Day 2022, Sweeting was having pains in her chest, had difficulty making out proper sentences and suffered shortness of breath. She visited her personal doctor on December 28, 2022. Later that morning, her family received a call that she would need to be admitted to the emergency room (ER) as she was facing issues with her lungs.

Once admitted, Sweeting and her family learned she was suffering from pleural effusion, sometimes referred to as “water on the lungs”, the buildup of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs. The pleura are the thin membranes that line the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity, and act to lubricate and facilitate breathing.

The fluid was drained, and Sweeting was treated and released on January 1, 2023.

“The family was happy to have her home to spend the new year, not knowing she would become very weak and labored with breathing once again, which was more severe [the second] time,” said Spears.

Sweeting visited her heart doctor and was told her heart and kidneys were weak and failing.

She was admitted back into the hospital on January 11. During the second visit in two weeks, Sweeting was administered medications for her heart, lungs, and kidneys. After being discharged, she was readmitted into hospital on January 23.

The Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group president went from the hospital on New Providence and was put on a flight to Tampa where she was admitted into Tampa General Hospital.

In 2019, Sweeting was admitted to the ICU after suffering a stroke and congestive heart failure. She recovered and returned to her active role of doing the work of Sister Sister, and helping as she always had.

Even though she is currently ensconced in the ICU at Tampa General Hospital, Cary said her mom is being her “typical self” and “making all the doctors and nurses fall in love with her”.

“She tells everyone about her Bahamian community and that they are waiting for her to come home.”

Cary said having her mom face these newest medical challenges was a tough start to the new year.

“It really is a very tough way to start 2023,” said Cary.

She called for people to continue to support the family, which will help them get through this period.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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