iN VIDEO: Collapsed balcony at Vernon Airbnb lands Calgary man in hospital
A Calgary man is now lying in a Vernon hospital bed after the balcony railing at the SilverStar Airbnb where he was staying gave way.
Lawrence Pickrem fell the two storeys from the balcony breaking his pelvis and much of his friends fall when he hit the concrete.
"The wind was knocked out of my lungs, there was a period of time where I couldn't breathe," Pickrem told iNFOnews.ca. "I thought I was dead."
Now, speaking from his bed at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Pickrem says he's been told it will likely be three months before he can put weight on his body and another three months until he can walk again.
The incident happened Aug. 12, after Pickrem and seven friends rented the large SilverStar home for a three-night getaway.
On the first evening, after having a BBQ, Pickrem was standing on the balcony with his friend, Barrett, and another member of the party.
He leaned on the rail of the balcony and it gave way.
Pickrem broke much of Barrett's fall and hit the concrete hard. Barrett did however crack his head on the concrete stairs, fracturing his skull and landing him in hospital for two nights.
The other friend who fell appears to be largely OK after missing the concrete and landing on the grass.
Pickrem was in surgery for three hours as doctors inserted plates and screws into his pelvis.
He also damaged his tailbone and perforated his spleen.
Now, less than one week since his fall, Pickrem questions why someone was allowed to rent out an Airbnb without it being safe?
He compares it to the Uber ride-sharing app.
"How regulated are these companies and how much liability do they carry?" he said.
Pickrem said Airbnb refunded the full $1,800 for the cost of the vacation rental.
However, he's now pursuing legal action.
A carpenter by trade, Pickrem moved from Halifax to Calgary just three-and-half months ago and was living with a friend and his fiancée.
He said the place is not at all conducive to wheelchair living and he's also concerned about whether he'll be able to work as a carpenter again.
"I'm not sure where that's going to leave me now," he said.
Pickrem's long-term diagnosis is relatively good and doctors have said over time he should make a full recovery, although he's been told he'll develop arthritis in his pelvis and one day need a hip replacement.
He's still processing how such an incident could happen.
Pickrem said doctors are keen for him to head back to Calgary and continue rehabilitation there. He'll likely need air transport back to Calgary, a service not directly covered under medicare.
For now, he's alone in a Vernon hospital bed as his friends had to return to Calgary.
Pickrem's sister, Brittany, has started a GoFundme campaign in an effort to raise funds for the air transport and to help cover day-to-day expenses as Pickrem goes through rehab and learns to walk again. So far, the campaign has raised more than $4,000.
The GoFundme can be found here.
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