PALM HARBOR — Ireland Nugent walked on her new prosthetic legs for the first time nearly one month ago.
But the Nugents are now encountering an obstacle in their daughter's recovery: Ireland, 2, has already outgrown her prostheses.
"It seems a little unexpected," said Nicole Nugent, the girl's mother. "I think we all thought that they would last a little longer."
On June 18, Ireland received her prostheses at Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates in Orlando. Doctors told her parents she would need replacements about every three months.
Ireland visited Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates again July 8, this time to adjust the legs and make them more comfortable for her. But when Ireland wears them, Nicole said, "She kind of looks like she's limping."
The Nugents plan to schedule another appointment for her to get fitted for replacements. For now, they are encouraging Ireland to use the legs in small increments so that she won't lose the habit of walking on them.
Ireland lost her lower legs and her feet when her father accidentally backed over her with a riding lawn mower in April.
Meanwhile, the Nugents have severed ties with Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clearwater. They're not attending services there anymore, several weeks after the family publicly accused the pastor, Dennis Reid, of withholding about $120,000 in donations sent to the church for Ireland's medical expenses. The family received the money soon after.
"After all that kind of happened," Nicole said, "there's a lot of hard feelings — not to the church at all, definitely with Pastor Dennis."
The Nugents now attend First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin and have established a new Facebook page and website, IrelandNugent.com, to collect donations and post updates on their daughter's recovery.
The Nugents also pulled Ireland out of Trinity Presbyterian's preschool, and Nicole resigned from her job there as preschool director. The family's rift with Reid, Nicole said, was not a factor in her resignation and Ireland's removal from the school.
"I want to be able to take care of her like I want to take care of her. … How much time does the teacher have to work individually with her? She's our baby, and whatever we need to do we will finally do it to make sure she's okay," she said.
Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] or (727)445-4157.