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Did this pastor's blessing leave a church member with a brain injury?

Sat 14 Apr 2018
By Eno Adeogun

A US pastor is facing legal action after a woman filed a lawsuit claiming he caused her to suffer a traumatic brain injury.

Yvonne Byrd said she was hurt when Bishop William Sheals, 71, from Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia began "blessing" members of the congregation by touching their heads.

Speaking to local journalists, attorney Brian Mickelson said of the March 2017 incident: "The pastor was going around and healing different people [Byrd] was singing and meditating on what he had said."

 

He said when it was her turn to be blessed, the pastor pushed her head, which led to her falling to the ground and hitting her head.

The suit states: "When Defendant Sheals passed Ms Byrd, instead of blessing her by touching her on the head as he did other congregants, he pushed her forehead with such force, that it caused her to fall backward and slam the back of her skull against the hard floor."

Mickelson said his client was unconscious after the fall and was treated at a local hospital.

More than a year after the accident, Byrd says she is still recovering from the "mild traumatic brain injury" she sustained as a result of the fall.

While Byrd's attorney acknowledged Sheals - who is often referred to as "Papa," - didn't deliberately hurt his client, justifying the court action, he explained the church's insurance company has refused to cover Byrd's medical bills.

The church is yet to comment on the case.

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