IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Mum’s despair
As Nichole McDowall kept vigil over her four-year-old son for six weeks, while he was hospitalised, she prayed constantly that he would make a full recovery and be able to walk again.
But six months after he sustained a broken femur (left thigh bone), little Nyrique’s injury has not healed properly and his mother now has to look for what could be thousands of dollars for him to receive specialist treatment from an orthopaedic surgeon.
Nyrique was injured on March 20 when the top of a concrete bird bath fell on him while he and other children were playing at a house at Bank Hall, St Michael.
McDowall explained that she had taken her children to the popular Q In The Community event on March 20, at the Little League Gym.
“His grandmother lives in the gap next door so when I heard it was being held there I decided to go because I had never been to it before,” she said.
She was sitting in the gallery with her children watching the activities when her 10-year-old daughter told her she wanted to use the bathroom.
“I told Nyrique and his cousin to sit on the chair until I get back,” she recalled.
However, when she returned McDowall said she panicked when she saw only empty chairs.
“I started to look around for Nyrique and I heard a man say the little boy on the ground. I got scared and run outside and I saw my son lying on the ground just staring. I went and lift him up not knowing what had happened and his foot was just hanging on by the skin. I said ‘Oh my God’, and I started to cry.
“I raised his short pants and I saw his foot just start to swell instantly big, big, big.”
They were rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by a woman, who McDowall identified as the daughter of the man who owned the gym.
She said doctors at the hospital told her that Nyrique had a broken femur and that they had not seen an injury like that since 2011.
“The hospital did not have the correct cast to put on my son’s foot so after the one that they put on broke three times they bandaged
both of his feet and kept them elevated for six weeks so that the bone would heal in place.
The 40-year-old McDowall described those six weeks as devastating.
“Nyrique was constantly in pain and he was uncomfortable with his feet elevated,” she said. “It was so much drama with him. He was getting nightmares and the doctors had to give him medication to make him sleep throughout the night.”
It was while he was still in the hospital that doctors also realised that the bone had not connected.
“The X-ray showed that instead of the bone joining at the end it has overlapped so he has a long and short foot. Due to the fact that the foot has not healed properly the doctors said that I would have to take him to an orthopaedic surgeon because he can get an infection and this can affect his spine, his knees; everything.”
Pointing out that she had no money to take her son to a specialist, McDowall, a hair braider, lamented that neither the owner of the gym nor the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, which organises the popular event, have ever contacted her to enquire about her son’s welfare or even visit him at the hospital.
“I had to go and borrow a wheelchair from an organisation when he came out of the hospital because he could not walk. He had to learn to walk again and even though he is walking now he is always crying for me to lift him up because the foot is hurting and he can’t walk properly.
In addition, because Nyrique missed two terms from school he has to do over a year in reception.
“It is really hard on me because I braid hair for a living and all of the time that he was in the hospital, I could not work. Every cent I get I have to spend on him.”
McDowall said her attorney had also written to the owner of the Little League Gym, William Beckles, but up to this day no response had been forthcoming.
When contacted, Beckles confirmed that the incident had occurred but said the matter was in the hands of his attorney.
“Her attorney has written my attorney and the matter is being dealt with,” he said.
General manager of CBC, Rod London, said that CBC had no knowledge about the incident, adding that they only facilitated the outside broadcast for the event.
“Nobody reported the incident to us . . . People host the event and we use the radio station to bring live coverage on behalf of the host. The host takes care of everything such as insurance, police – all the cost is at them. They make the money. CBC does not make any money,” he said.