More MS news articles for January 2000

Man Says Reports of His Death Exaggerated

Tuesday January 4 8:37 AM ET

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Reuters) - A minister with multiple sclerosis is protesting that he is still alive after bureaucrats decided he was dead and cut off his health insurance and other benefits, a newspaper reported on Monday.

``The thing about it is, I'm in bad enough condition that when people hear I'm dead, they believe it,'' Rev. James Kemp, who is paralyzed from the neck down, told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

``It is not every day you can reach the dead by telephone,'' the retired United Methodist minister said, adding that he had joked with his physical therapist that his stiff muscles could be a result of rigor mortis.

The mix-up was likely related to the death of a man with the same name in another Kentucky county that may have wiped Kemp's name off the Social Security and Medicare rolls and temporarily frozen his bank account in September. The newspaper quoted officials in the two agencies as saying the mistake was being rectified.

When he became ill over the Christmas weekend, Kemp said, ''I was afraid I was going to die. But I decided I've got to stay alive just to prove them wrong.''