As a North Smithfield firefighter Robert Hinton was used to being the one to help others, but since 2005 this father of two has relied on the help of family and friends. That was the year Hinton says his personal hell began, the year he got into a car accident and subsequently underwent a series of surgeries, treatments a lot of pain and misdiagnoses.
Then, in 2006 Hinton woke up with a purple and blue foot and that’s when his doctor diagnosed Hinton with RSD.
“The beast, as it is called by some is RSD, CRPS, or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome,” says Hinton “I said to myself, great now let’s get this treated, fixed and my life straightened out. I missed painting, working, the fire station, being and EMT many other things.”
However, Hinton would endure numerous treatments including, nerve blocks, epidurals and medical cocktails, but none of it relieved the excruciating constant burning pain throughout his body. Now he is hoping an experimental treatment called Ketamine Coma will offer some relief.
“I have been fighting RSD for eight years,” Hinton tells this Examiner, “Over coming the odds when I was bedridden for fifteen months, having doctors tell me I won’t walk again. I lost my career as a Fire fighter/EMT but I will always have the love and the brotherhood of being a fire fighter. I have lost ninety six pounds in the last nine months because I had to have ninety percent of my stomach removed, due to RSD lesions.”
The treatment is not covered by insurance so Saturday May 4th, 2013 from 2-8pm at the Providence Firefighters Union Hall on 92 Printery Street in Providence a fundraiser is being held to help Hinton raise money.
“I am the seventy-third person in the entire world to need this Ketamine Coma. I am scared because in essence the doctors are shutting your brain and body down completely for one week,” states Hinton, “I have talked to people who have said they saw angels during this time and some people have died. It is being done in the Dominican Republic and costs 50-65k dollars.”
In recent years singer, choreographer, and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul revealed she too suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD. ) Abdul reportedly says the chronic pain of the syndrome began with a cheerleading accident at age seventeen, but like Hinton it took time for doctors to figure it out.
Throughout all of this Hinton has tried to keep a positive outlook and is grateful to all of his family, friends and stranger who have reached out to support him. If you would like to donate money or raffle prizes or purchase tickets for the event click here. To learn more about Hinton’s battle click here.