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Ignored safety problems places county at risk

A Column by the Editor
web posted September 17, 2010

COLUMN – Inaction to reported problems can place a county in a very compromising situation if a person is injured as a result of negligence on their part to correct reported problems. One such defect is found in the most traversed building in the county, the Edgefield County Courthouse. The carpet in the main hallway is lose and has rises and ripples that have been reported as causing multiple people to stumble, almost to the point of falling.

One such incident took place last week when I was exiting the County Courthouse after the first day of the trial of Brian Phillips and K. C. Langford for armed robbery, kidnapping, and other felony charges. As I was walking down the hall my left foot caught a “rise” in the carpet causing my knee to turn in a strange way causing me pain and almost causing me to fall to the floor.

The officer, who witnessed the event, asked me to sit in a chair he provided and I refused thinking it was just a simple short term pain.

How wrong I was. The following day while covering the final court proceedings, the pain in my knee grew more intense. By Thursday night I was unable to sleep due to the pain, an event that repeated itself on Friday night.

A week following the incident and still in intense pain (Thursday, September 16) during an appointment with a specialist I was informed I had torn the cartilage in my knee, but to what extent was unknown. I underwent minor intrusive treatments which did wonders for the pain although surgery has not been ruled out at this time.

To put the members of the County Council, Country Attorney Michael Medlock, Clerk of Court Shirley Newby, and our sometimes present County Administrator Alton Brown at ease; I have no intentions of suing the county for medical bills or pain and suffering.

I have insurance (as long as Obama allows us to have private coverage) and I will make my co-pays and move on. The county may not be so lucky the next time around when it is someone else.

I have information stating this problem has been ongoing for years and the county refuses to act to rectify the situation. Taking into account that the only public access to the courthouse for handicapped individuals is the street level entrance - where the problems are most prevalent - how long will it be before an elderly person using a walker is tripped up by the same loose carpet causing a major injury such as a hip fracture or worse?

I wonder what the cost will be to the taxpayers in increased insurance premiums after such a case.

Meanwhile almost $200,000 in county funding is diverted to give-aways and non-essentials, some of which funds pet projects of long term council members.

Maybe after years of pleading the county council will put their priorities in order and look out for the taxpayers not the insiders. Then again, maybe not.

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