ST. PETERSBURG — City Council Chairwoman Leslie Curran remained in a drug-induced coma and on a ventilator Tuesday, more than a week after she hit her head in a bicycle accident. However, she was showing signs of progress, according to a friend and co-worker.
"She's almost completely breathing on her own," said Lance Rodgers, who is caring for Curran's dog. "This morning she squeezed her daughter's hand and wiggled her toes on command. She still has a ways to go, but that's pretty huge."
Doctors were hoping to take Curran off the ventilator Tuesday, said Audri Tirabassi, an assistant manager at Curran's Interior Motives art gallery.
"They said that she's right on schedule in recovering for this type of injury," Tirabassi said. "They're now waiting for verbal communication, which should be soon."
Rodgers and Tirabassi said Curran's adult daughter, Stacey, updated them Tuesday morning on her mother's condition.
Later on Tuesday, city officials said that Curran's family said that doctors had discontinued the medicine used to induce the coma.
"She is responsive, responding well to treatment and is making positive progress," Elizabeth Herendeen, a city spokeswoman, said in a written statement.
Curran, 54, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center's intensive care unit Aug. 30 after she fell off her bicycle. She was traveling at about 19 mph in the Lakewood Estates neighborhood when her front tire hit the back tire of another cyclist, Brian Wilder, causing her to lose balance. She was wearing a helmet.
She was checked into the hospital under an alias, and the hospital won't update her condition. At the time of the accident, Curran's injury was described as a concussion and her condition as critical by council members who were updated by Mayor Bill Foster.
Rodgers said that Curran is still heavily sedated, but that her breathing is almost back to normal. He also said she's "right on the edge of consciousness."
Tirabassi said it wasn't known when Curran is expected to be back. She said every day the gallery is getting about 20 phone calls and 10 to 15 people dropping off get-well wishes.