AG: “I see the pain”
After a 34 year wait for injury compensation, nagging bouts of chronic depression and suicidal tendancies, a former Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) nurse could soon see an end to her painful wait.
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has asked Crown Counsel Roger Barker, the Government lawyer handling Coral Wilkinson’s case, to see how he can speed up a settlement.
Brathwaite said he spoke to Barker earlier this week after reading the story of Wilkinson’s ongoing pain and suffering in Barbados TODAY, and asked him to revisit the matter and see how quickly he can “get rid of it”.
Wilkinson, who is unable to walk on her own, fell down a flight of stairs in the antenatal clinic in April 1981 and sustained a slipped disc in her neck and damage to the bone in the lower back which supports her body weight.
The Attorney General, who is named in a lawsuit which Wilkinson filed against the State a year after her injury, recalled that even though the Government did not accept liability, the former nurse was still offered a sum of money so she could go to England and have the required surgery.
He noted that she, through her attorney Sir Richard Cheltenham, QC, had rejected the offer.
“I see the pain she is going through. I spoke to the attorney yesterday and asked him to take a second look at it [the matter of payment] and see how quickly he can get rid of it,” said Brathwaite, adding that the issue was currently at the stage of negotiation.
In a letter dated February 24, 2015, Barker wrote Wilkinson on behalf of Solicitor General Jennifer Edwards offering her an ex gratia payment of $145,159.70 for the surgery in England.
However, Wilkinson’s attorney replied in correspondence dated March 12, 2015 rejecting it on the grounds that the sum offered was considered “meagre”; therefore to accept it was “virtually to condemn her to remaining in her presently helpless condition”.
Sir Richard’s counter-offer was $400,000, which he contended would cover air travel to and from England, accommodation, the expenses of the surgical team, physiotherapy and all other incidentals.
He argued that Government’s offer did not even cover the cost of the medical team in England whose maximum fee is 33,000 pounds sterling.
Sir Richard had also asked the Government to reconsider its offer.(EJ)