By Sean Devers
Following a story in yesterday’s Kaieteur News headlined ‘Clive Atwell in biggest fight of his life’ Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr Karen Cummings and Director of Sports Christopher Jones arranged a press conference
yesterday morning at the Ministry of Public Health to clear the air on some of the issues raised by Atwell, a National Boxer.
Jones said the story suggests the Government is reluctant to help the 27-year-old Boxer who fainted on October 24 during the ninth round of his WBC FECARBOX Lightweight title fight against fellow Guyanese Dexter Gonzales and was diagnosed with bleeding in the brain.
An emergency surgery was done by Dr Amernauth Dukhi to save Atwell’s life and a second ‘corrective surgery’ to insert a plate was recommended. The cost for travel to Trinidad and the surgery is approximately $5Million.
Minister Cummings says the second surgery is not a life threatening operation and could be done in Guyana at a lower cost. She said the Government is in the process of buying the equipment to do this type of surgery.
Dr Dukhi, GPHC’s first in-house neurosurgeon confirmed he could execute the type of surgery needed by Atwell. Dr Dukhi gained Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology and Bio Chemistry from the University of Guyana and a Bachelor’s of Medicine through the Cuban Scholarship Programme.
But the bad news is that the surgery cannot be done here at present and even though Dr Dukhi has done this operation before this is the first time it will done in Guyana. Both Minister Cummings and Dr Dukhi could not say how long the equipment will take to get to Guyana. Atwell is uncomfortable being the first patient to undergo this procedure.
Atwell who holds the National Featherweight and Lightweight titles and WBC CABOFE Super Lightweight and Featherweight crowns, said in yesterday’s story that his wife and a few others are the only ones helping him.
He said he wrote Sports Minister Nicolette Henry, Director of Sports Chris Jones and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Sports Alfred King and sent two letters to President David Granger seeking assistance as someone who has represented this county but is yet to get a reply.
Yesterday, Atwell accompanied by his wife, Coach Paulette Nurse and his PRO Herman Harris, said he stood by what he said. His wife said that in one day she made 10 calls to Minister Cummings office without getting her. Dr Cummings promised to get back to Atwell’s by May 24 but never did.
Dr Dukhi said he always tells his patients to go where they feel comfortable. He added that it is recommended the second surgery should not be done in less than sixes weeks after the first due to healing process. It’s been eight months since Atwell did his first surgery.
“I was told I had to get a plate inserted to protect my brain and was advised to go to the USA or England. I went to Trinidad because that was all I could have afforded. I spoke to Dr Steve Mahadeo from the St Clair Medical Centre and he gave me the cost and told me as soon as I come up with the money the surgery would be done because time is important” Atwell disclosed.
Minister Cummings noted that there are many who need surgeries and Atwell’s life was no longer threatened, since he could talk and walk.
Atwell says he still suffers from seizures, problems with his sight, gets little feelings in his left leg and faints if exposed to load noise.
“If you think it best to do the surgery overseas write me a letter and Government will make a decision on how we can best assist” Dr Cummings promised.
The Minister said Government is just over a year old and was left with many things that had to be fixed. She assured the nation that it is working hard to put things in place to provide a better life for everyone but stressed that everything takes time.
“I feel if the story was not done we would not be here today and most likely not heard from anyone anytime soon” Atwell’s wife said after the press conference. Atwell informed that he sent the request letter to Dr Cummings yesterday.
Those who want to make financial donations can send same to Republic Bank #242970.2 or call Atwell on 624-9961
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