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Summer Moll faces surgery for third time in just days

TAMPA — Summer Moll had a rough week, even by her standards.

The 5-year-old girl, who suffered a fractured skull and lost her mother when an alleged drunken driver smashed into their car in September, has had two operations since Tuesday and is slated for another in a couple of days.

Also on Tuesday, her father, Joshua Adam Moll, 26, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence just hours before Summer went in for what was supposed to be a routine followup surgery, an operation that revealed an infection in her head wound.

"We've had a lot happen this week," said Summer's grandmother, Tammy Rosian, while addressing the media outside Tampa General Hospital on Saturday. "It's been very emotional for me."

After finding the infection beneath the metal plate in Summer's head, doctors hoped to rotate her scalp and do a skin graft Friday, but weren't able to do so because of a lack of good muscle around the wound, Rosian said.

So on Tuesday, doctors plan to take a piece of muscle from her back and place it on the wound, with the hope of building enough strength to eventually perform the graft.

Meanwhile, Rosian said Summer is in her usual good spirits despite being back in the hospital, where she has spent much of the past five months and had close to a dozen operations.

"I can't even imagine what Summer's going through, but I can say that she is the happiest girl in the whole world," Rosian said. "Nothing gets her down."

Her infection has cleared, and she'll be loading up on hamburgers from the TGH McDonald's to give her strength for next week's surgery, the grandmother said.

"We own McDonald's, I think now," she said. "The protein from the meat is what's going to get her going these next couple of days."

Summer has been moved out of the intensive care unit and into a regular children's room.

Her godmother, Rebecca Worthington, flew in from Chicago to spend the weekend with Summer. It's her first time seeing Summer since the wreck.

"She's a champ. She is feisty, just like her momma," said Worthington, a close friend of Summer's mother, Jennifer O'Boyle. "She's got such a great spirit. It's been really hard seeing her, though."

While doctors work to heal Summer's wound, the girl's custody discussions have come to a halt. Summer's grandmother and father have been sharing custody, although Summer lives with Rosian.

Before Joshua Moll's DUI charge, both parties were close to an agreement that would have allowed Summer to live with her father after a few years of shared custody, Rosian said. Because of his arrest, though, it's unclear what might happen.

Cheryl Riemann, who police say caused the September crash by driving the wrong way on the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway, faces multiple felony charges, including DUI manslaughter and DUI resulting in serious injury.

"This is what put her there," Summer's grandmother said. "Anyone who knows her and can see what she goes through would not be thinking about having a drink."

Kevin Smetana can be reached at ksmetana@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2439.

Summer Moll faces surgery for third time in just days 02/21/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:23pm]
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