Anne Landman's Collection
This Letter Is Neither Extortion or Blackmail.
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This heart-wrenching letter was written by a cigarette consumer to the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company in 1988. It was written by a wheelchair-bound, 63 year old man who was paralyzed on his left side due to a stroke, and then had his legs amputated, part by part, over a three-year period, as a result of ciculatory problems which his doctors assured him were due to smoking. The man had a wife and eight children.
He wrote RJR to try and get some compensation for his disability.
December 1, 1988
RECEIVED DEC 1, 1988
Mr. R.J. Reynolds R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Dear Mr. Reynolds:
This letter is neither extortion or blackmail.
Almost fifteen years ago, I suffered a stroke. It was October 27, 1974. Since that time, I have been unable to work, earn a living or be a husband to my wife or a father to my eight children. In November of the following year (1975) I was hospitalized for plebltis. All above was attributed to smoking cigarettes. I started smoking in December of 1943 and have continued all my adult life. I smoked Camels from 1943 until 1970, when I started on a menthol cigarette (Salem) which I still smoke. In November and December of 1984 lwas again hospitalized to have bypass surgery in my left leg. I was told then by a vascular surgeon, Dr. R. Khrale, that unless I quit smoking, I would lose my leg.
I still am paralyzed in my left hand and arm.
In 1986 at Easter time, I went into St. Louis County Hospital for the amputation of my left leg due to no circulation four inches below the knee.
In April 1987 I was again hospitalized at U.S. ~eterans Hospital at St. Louis, MO, where they amputated all my toes on my right foot and on July 7, 1988, I went back to the V.A. Hospital in St. Louis where they amputated my right leg, six inches below the knee. I was a patient in the V.A. Hospital at Jefferson Barracks, MO, until November 6, 1988. Now I have no feet or lower legs, all caused by smoking cigarettes.
My lungs check out fine.
I checked with a very prominent attorney and was advised that tobacco companies can't be beat in a law suit. I think I can win such a suit.
My attorney advised me to consult another attorney. I only have an eighth-grade education so, I don't know what to do.
I am only 63 years old and l'm confined indoors and to a wheelchair for the rest of my life and only God knows how long that will be. I was an outdoors man all my life, I worked in the construction industry, and hunted and fished all my life. I wanted to sue R.J. Reynolds for $5 million. Felt I was owed $15 million, $1 million for each year so I could make up lost earnings and loss to my wife and family of eight children.
I have no animosity towards your great company, but all the medical experts agree it's due to my smoking. When I was in the army, from 1943 to 1946, I even got free cigarettes in my rations to further support my habit and continue it. I know I can win my case against you. What should I do?
Richard K. Fischer 5316 Kirkland Drive St. Louis, MO 63121 (314) 389-2554
- R.J. Reynolds
- Fischer, Richard .K.
- R.J. Reynolds
- United States
- CONSUMER LETTER
- Named Person
- Khrale, R.
- St Louis Cnty Hospital
- health effects
- cardiovascular disease
- Cardiovascular Effects (Health Effects)