Sharon's 'I Am Able' Notes Part 5

In her fifth article on the state of persons living with disabilities in Antigua and Barbuda, Sharon Adams looks at the case of Jevorn Browne of Wilikies. Sharon, a member of the Ministry of Health & the Environment’s Public Relations Department, was a delegate to the historic ‘I Am Able’ Conference held in Antigua and Barbuda, December 4-6, 2017

The story of Jevorn Browne

To be incapacitated at any age is tragic and heart-wrenching., However, it is even more painful and complex when the one involved is cut down in the prime of his life. A situation such as this has to be extremely difficult for anyone to endure and can lead to depression.

Depression is a state of mind and a mental health issue. This condition is characterized by a feeling of hopelessness or dejection and is usually accompanied by emotional, cognitive, physical and behavioral symptoms

According to the World Health Organization WHO, depression is currently rated as the third most widespread disabling condition and it can manifest itself either in a moderate or severe form.

To watch one's dreams and desires fade away can often lead to despair as well as depression. Coping with tragedy requires strength of mind, body, and will, along with firm family support and committed friends. This is an essential component in preventing such persons from becoming overwhelmed by grief.

The femur or the thigh bones are the longest and strongest bones in the body; they take tremendous force to break. When it comes to thirty-three-year-old Jevorn Browne of Willikies village, a car crash did just that, and ever since he has been incapacitated.

In December 2009, he was involved in a vehicular accident in which he sustained serious injury to the femur, as well as a dislocated shoulder. He was hospitalized at the Mount Saint John’s Medical Centre for six months, from 4th December—6th June 2010. Eight years have come and gone, and yet he is still suffering from the effects of his injuries and he has limited mobility of his hand.

Due to the severity of the injury, a special metal rod called an external fixator had to be inserted into the marrow canal; this device is used to hold the bones together when the skin and muscles have been injured.

External fixators are designed for femur fractures, they provide temporary stability until the patient is healthy enough for surgery or until the femur is fully healed. But in Jevorn’s case, there appears to be no end in sight as he hops around daily with the help of the fixator and a pair of crutches.

According to the medical fraternity, he has an open fracture, which occurs when a bone breaks in a way that causes the fragments to stick through the skin or when a wound penetrates down to the broken bones. It, therefore, suggests that there are major damages to the surrounding muscles, tendons, and the ligaments.

Any person who remains in a condition such for a prolonged period has a high risk of developing complications especially infections which takes forever to heal and Jevorn is no exception.

He has now contracted osteomyelitis, a rare but serious bone infection. It is a type of bacteria which can be triggered by persons living with the following preconditions: sickle cell diseases, HIV and AIDS, alcoholism, intravenous drug use and diabetes.

His muscles are weak, he is unable to stand or sit for any length of time since the equipment is attached to his thigh. A recent prognosis by a medical specialist has given him a fifty-fifty chance of being able to walk again.

If he is to have a fighting chance, a major and urgent operation is a must. Since Antigua and Barbuda does not have the necessary equipment nor the facility to accommodate such a huge undertaking, he will have to be airlifted to Trinidad where a medical team can perform the surgery.

Prior to the accident, he was gainfully employed in the hotel industry where he worked in the housekeeping department for over six years. He is the father of an eight-year-old son whom he has never been able to hold nor support financially.

Jevorn’s family does not have the financial means needed for such a venture but all of us can help to make it easier. It was Steve Maraboli who said, “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”

Ministry of Health and the Environment
High& Long Streets
St. John’s

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