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Jun 5, 2008

Paralyzed shooting victim seeks help

Story PictureOn this newscast we carry a lot of stories about young men being shot … but we rarely follow up on what happens to victims of this epidemic of urban violence. The following report by News Five’s Marion Ali contains some unpleasant images, but as you’ll discover, when a bullet tears through the human body, the result is never pretty.

Kareem Wright, Paralyzed by Gunshot
“When I turn back when I hear she scream I only feel something sting me eena my neck side.”

Marion Ali, Reporting
He was shot in the neck on August twenty-sixth, 2007 the victim of a jealous rage by a girlfriend’s ex-lover. Almost a year later, the injury has left twenty-five year old Kareem Wright not only confined to bed, but with soaring medical bills and in desperate need of advanced surgery. Neurosurgeon, Doctor Joel Cervantes, was the man who treated Kareem’s wounds.

Dr. Joel Cervantes, Spine Surgeon
“This is the bullet that I removed from the canal and this was done on the fourth of October, 2007. The bullet wound affected the C5 to T1 segment; the lower part of the cervical spine going onto the thoratic spine, the lower region of the neck here as such. So apparently the bullet went in, the heat wave along with the bullet fractured the spine at C7 and T1 and cut the spinal cord, cutting the function for him to use the lower part of his body and also limiting the use of his arms to a certain extent.”

While the paralysis has left Kareem depressed, he is hopeful that with financial support, he will one day again be able to care for his eighteen month old twin brothers whom he used to babysit while his mother worked.

Kareem Wright
“I feel bad because I can’t hold my lee bredda dehn how I want. Dehn come play wid me pan di bed but dehn da my comfort. But I just bear wid it.”

Edith Wright, Mother of Kareem Wright
“When the twins would come in the room I could see his little smile, it brighten up his day and stuff like that. They even try to assist, try changing linens, getting pillows and getting water for Kareem and things like that and that really touch my heart. It touch his heart as well cause sometimes I would him turn his head and start to cry.”

And crying is what Kareem’s mother, Edith Wright, has also been doing a lot of since the incident. Though it was a tough decision, she has had to give up employment to stay by his bedside.

Edith Wright
“I’m home now from January taking care of him full time now cause I think I di give ah di best love I can and care because I noh think nobody could care more for a child more than dehn mother.”

It also hurts Kareem to endure the confinement and accept the change the incident has brought. While he rarely speaks of the morning that changed his life, he recalled the moment when for the last time he and his girlfriend walked home together.

Kareem Wright
“He start fire shot eena di air, then afterwards he start fire shot after we, fire shot after she too. I end up di run up di street and when I turn back dah den, di last shot when he walk weh when ih push ih hand underneath ih arm when he think dat I mi done get shot already ih ketch me eena my neck.”

The paralysis and accompanying illnesses have brought on an added medical treatment and expense which the family cannot afford. Coupled with that, Kareem urgently needs to travel abroad to undergo surgery in order to prolong his life.

Dr. Joel Cervantes
“Another specialist would have to get involved to help him with an infected bedsore and perhaps even grafting skin to cover that eventually. We’re talking about other specialists or support people being involved and cost-wise, I really can’t give you a figure. It definitely means other people evaluating him and seeing how they can help out where my speciality is limited, where other people can step in and fill the gap.”

“A person like this can regain most times the use of their arms and lead a normal life in a wheel chair and even if it’s just with the use of the arms, can become a productive citizen using the arms only. So is Kareem Wright worth a try to give him a chance to become a productive citizen? The answer is yes.”

Marion Ali reporting for News Five.

If you would like to help Kareem Wright please call his mother at 623-3416 or visit 16 Freetown Road in Belize City.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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