Observer readers helping man who needs emergency surgery

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Observer readers helping man who needs emergency surgery

Friday, July 10, 2020

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RICHARDO Powell, the 39-year-old man who needs emergency surgery for a back injury, and his partner Marie Thomas are expressing thanks to Jamaica Observer readers who have so far responded to their appeal for financial assistance to purchase surgical hardware.

“I want to thank everyone and wish them all blessings,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer earlier this week. “I really, really appreciate what people — some of them who don't even know me — have done. I can't say thank you enough. I also want to thank all the nurses and doctors who have been looking after me.”

Thomas was equally appreciative.

“We're more than grateful to everybody who has donated and who have offered to help. I am so grateful and I pray that God will bless each and every one,” said Thomas, who revealed that she and Powell felt uneasy about asking the public for help.

Powell's plight was published by the Observer on July 2, and since then the couple has been getting offers of assistance from the newspaper's readers in Jamaica and abroad.

Powell has been on his back for nearly two months now, suffering from a prolapsed disc. He is, however, unable to afford the just-over $917,000 to purchase surgical hardware for the medical procedure, which doctors at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) say needs to be done within another week, at most.

Last week, Thomas showed the Observer an invoice from Medical Technologies Limited for the hardware, which includes rods, screws, and other items totalling $917,985.

At the time, Powell confessed that he didn't have the money. He said the last time he worked was in December last year.

Yesterday, Thomas told the Observer that the donations they have so far received amount to $200,000.

Meanwhile, Powell said he has now lost feeling in his right leg and is hoping that he will be able to undergo surgery as soon as possible.

The development has shaken Thomas, but she is trying not to worry.

“I'm not thinking anything negative because I know with God everything is possible,” she told the Observer yesterday.

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 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.

Last week, 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.

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

Since the publication of the first story, Powell has bean able to have a bank account opened in his name and is asking anyone else who can help him raise the additional money to send it to JN Bank account number 20000133957, or they can call Thomas at 876-487-7163.


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