Help, please!

Help, please!

Man needs emergency medical procedure but can't afford surgical hardware

Executive editor — publications

Thursday, July 02, 2020

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RICHARDO Powell struggles to speak without having to pause for breaths.

“I'm in some very serious pain,” he admitted while sharing his ordeal with the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Powell has been on his back for near two months now, suffering from a prolapsed disc and is in need of emergency surgery. However, he is unable to afford the just over $917,000 to purchase surgical hardware for the surgery, which doctors at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) say needs to be done in the next two weeks, at most.

Powell's partner, Marie Thomas, showed the Observer an invoice from Medical Technologies Limited for the hardware, which includes rods, screws, and other items, totalling $917,985.

“I just don't have that kind of money. The last time I worked was in December last year. I did a paint job for about two weeks,” 39-year-old Powell said from his hospital bed.

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.

He said that 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.

Yesterday, Powell said while he was advised to retain an attorney to file a suit against Codner, he did not have the money to do so.

In 2013, Powell was forced to undergo a second surgery to his back after waking up one morning in severe pain.

“After that second surgery I had no feeling in my body from my waist down,” he said, adding that physiotherapy helped him to walk again.

“Now, here am I again,” he said of his current plight. “The doctors say I have a massive disc prolapse, so they have to go in and replace it with metal discs,” Powell told the Observer.

“The doctors talk to mi this morning [yesterday] and mek mi know is an emergency surgery, so them a give mi two weeks to deal wid it,” he said.

“I really need the surgery because it start affect mi walking. I'm not able to move. I have sleepless nights,” he said.

Powell, who does not have a bank account, is asking anyone who can assist him to buy the surgical hardware to send funds to JN Bank account number 10548503, which is in the name of his partner, Marie Thomas, or they can call her at 876-487-7163.

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