February 22, 2008

From the local papers:


H2 THE VANCOUVER SUN, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2008

Vancouver alternative music scene stalwart Scott Harding has
been partly paralysed in a car crash in New York.
Harding, 44, left a recording studio at about 3:30 a.m. Feb. 9 in a
cab. “They were driving about a block away from the studio and
they were totally t-boned by a car that ran a stop sign,” said Harding’s
friend Heesok Chang.
“It must have been going really fast because both cars were
totalled. They had to use the jaws of life to get Scott out of there.”
Harding was taken by ambulance to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.
He had suffered a broken collarbone, shoulder blade and rib,
and crushed the T5 vertebrae in his back, crushing his spinal chord.
“His back is broken essentially in the middle,” said Chang.
“So, he’s got no function below that, no movement.”
Harding will have surgery to repair the vertebrae Feb. 28. “The disc was fragmented and
some of the fragments are in the spinal column,” explained his mother, Shirley Harding.
“They’re going to operate and stabilize that area. The prognosis in the beginning was the grimmest it could be, but they really won’t know [how severe the injury is] until they get in there. And they won’t know til Scott’s been in rehab for awhile [if he will recover].
Look at Mike Harcourt — look at all the people who’ve had spinal cord injuries that have been told they’ll never walk again [and did].”
Harding was born in Calgary and moved to West Vancouver as a child. He played guitar with local alternative acts such as Rhythm Mission and the Jazzmanian Devils before moving to New York in 1989 to work as a recording engineer.
There he’s had a flourishing career as a producer and engineer, usually working with hip-hop or
jazz acts. He engineered and mixed Chris Rock’s Never Scared CD, which won a Grammy Award
for best comedy album. He also worked with acts like the Wu Tang Clan, Medeski Martin and Wood, Prince Paul, Michael Blake, Vernon Reid (of Living Colour fame), Leif Arntzen and the Crash Test Dummies. He has a green card to work in the United States but, according to
Chang, has no health insurance.
“What happens is that [American] hospitals will treat you; they have to give out medical treatment,” Chang said. “But he can’t be accepted into a rehab facility unless he’s got
health insurance. As you can imagine, the costs are catastrophic — $3,000 a day to be in the hospital, $2,000 a day for the rehab. I don’t even know if that’s counting all the drugs. I don’t know how much the surgical procedure is either.”
Three men were seen fleeing the car that caused the accident.
The car they were driving was reported stolen several hours after the accident.
Harding’s friends have hired a lawyer who is looking into the possibility of suing the cab company or the people who caused the accident, if they are found. They have also set up a bank account to help pay for his medical expenses, and are talking about doing a benefit
show in New York. Harding is fine mentally, and has been receiving a steady stream of
visitors since the accident. “He’s totally making jokes,” Chang said.
“The first night I was visiting him, his second night there, out of the blue he said ‘Alright! I’m ready for this to be over now! Can we go to a bar?’
“He’s so social, he’s had such a flood of visitors; we’ve had to really control it. [He’s in this]
gigantic hospital, Bellevue, one of the largest in the nation, and everyone knows him there,
because he has so many visitors.” “His spirits are incredible,”
says his mother.
“And he’s got this circle of friends . . . I have never seen or heard of anything like it in my
life. They have a roster so that 24 hours a day there’s somebody with him; he’s never been alone.
Th e y ’ re do i n g eve r y t h i n g : lawyers, investigators, bank accounts. All this wonderful love
that’s coming his way is just overwhelming. From all over the world.”
Friends of Harding who want to drop him a line or get updates on his condition can e-mail
scottyupdates@gmail.com.
jmackie@png.canwest.com 605-2126

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