'Thank you all so much'

'Thank you all so much'

Man who needed emergency back surgery on his feet again, expresses appreciation to everyone who helped

Executive editor — publications

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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RICHARDO Powell is smiling again.

Just over two weeks after the Jamaica Observer reported his need for financial assistance to purchase surgical hardware to correct a prolapsed disc, he received the emergency surgery on July 19 and is now walking again.

“I just want to thank all the people who helped me to get the surgery,” 39-year-old Powell said last weekend. “I want to thank the doctors and nurses at KPH [Kingston Public Hospital] who looked after me and all the people who saw the Observer story and were kind enough to contribute.”

On July 2 the Observer had reported Powell's plight. At the time he was on his back at KPH for near two months, badly in need of surgery that his doctors said had to be done within two weeks. However, he was unable to afford the just over $917,000 to purchase surgical hardware, which included rods, screws, and other items.

After the publication of the story, Observer readers locally and abroad rallied to his cause, donating enough funds to buy the equipment.

Powell's plight began in 2004 when he suffered an injury to his back at work. He had to undergo surgery to remove a damaged disc, he said. But while his employers reimbursed him for the surgery, they refused, he said, to take responsibility for the accident, so he took them to court.

In 2008 the court awarded him $6.5 million in damages. However, he said that his lawyer, Sheldon Codner, collected the money without his knowledge.

An Observer report in September 2013 stated that Codner pleaded guilty to fraudulent conversion and was sentenced to two years in prison in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

The court heard that Codner collected the $6.5 million award for his client but only gave the complainant $1 million to cover his medical expenses.

The lawyer took $2 million for his legal fees and kept $3.5 million that was due to the complainant.

The court further heard that Codner had collected the award in 2008, after he had filed the suit in the Supreme Court on behalf of the complainant, but told him that he did not get any money.

He was arrested and charged in September 2011.

Since the successful surgery Powell has been back home, and his only discomfort is a persistent headache. However, he is extremely grateful that he is back on his feet.

Powell's partner, Marie Thomas, who had alerted the Observer to his story, was equally grateful for the help he received.

“To all those who helped, thank you so much. We really appreciate your kindness. God is so awesome, my God is so awesome!” she declared.

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