Family wants foundation in memory of paraplegic

Family wants foundation in memory of paraplegic


The mother of a paraplegic man who died during controversial stem cell treatment in South America will establish a foundation to campaign for better information for the paralysed.

Ricky Chick was 22, a budding body builder and running the family business, when a motorbike accident on Brighton Road, South Croydon, left him paralysed from the chest down.

The following five years of turmoil for Ricky and his family culminated in his body leaving an Ecuadorian hospital on the back of a pick-up truck.

His mother Chris Chick, 51, Wontford Road, Purley travelled to Ecuador with her son in August 2009 as he sought life-changing stem cell treatment on his severed spinal cord.

She describes a harrowing experience of misinformation, malpractice, and misinformation at the San Francisco Hospital, Guayaquil, as she saw her son fall into a coma before experiencing a massive brain haemorrhage and die.

She even described how he was taken to have a brain scan in a camper van.

She said: "The trauma a spinally injured patient and their family goes through is something I would wish on my worst enemy, but to get through that only for that to happen, you can’t comprehend. It has shattered this family."

Booked to have stem cells taken from his bone marrow injected into his spine, Mrs Chick described how doctors also chose to inject cells into his legs, treatment she believes led to his death.

Mrs Chick said: "He couldn’t deal with that amount of pain. If they told him they were planning this he would have said no."

Forced to undergo 18 months of reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation following his accident, Ricky and his family immediately began looking at stem cells treatment.

Carly Chick, his younger sister, said: "As soon as he was confirmed paralysed it was something we were looking at. It was the talk of the hospital - everyone was talking about stem cell research."

Internet research threw up information about successful treatment in Ecuador and Ricky began planning his journey.

Carly, said: "He was a realist, he never thought it was some miracle cure and he’d be able to walk again, he just hoped it would improve his life, give him back some control and stop the muscle wastage.

"There needs to be more information. There are so many people out there who are paralysed who might be tempted to try this. We still support the use of stem cells and if the process had been done here, Ricky would still be alive.

"In many ways Ricky was a Guinea Pig - a warning for people about the dangers."

The family plan to establish a charity in his name to highlight the danger of seeking treatment abroad, and give up-to-date information for those who have been paralysed.

Professor Chris Mason from University College London is an expert on stem cell research.

He said: "People have been using stem cells for decades using bone marrow for cancer patients. For more advanced treatment something like 20 to 30 patients have benefited from limbal stem cell therapy repairing damaged eyes.

"Research is underway into work on spinal injury but it is still at the animal stage and will probably be a few more years. This treatment is available elsewhere but my advice would be to seek advice from your doctors before considering it. At the end of the day it is the person’s choice."



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Family wants foundation in memory of paraplegic

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