Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Library rape victim must leave rehab hospital

Medicaid officials have told the family of the 18-year-old who was brutally beaten and raped at the Bloomingdale Regional Library in April that she must leave a Sarasota rehabilitation hospital at the end of the month, her mother said Thursday.

The victim is not making sufficient progress to justify the $30,000-a-month bill, the mother said Medicaid told her.

The news came as a shock to the mother, who had hoped her daughter could remain at the hospital. Doctors have told her that therapy is critical in the first year after a brain injury.

At home, Medicaid will pay for physical therapy three days a week. The victim now gets therapy five days a week, relearning how to talk, swallow and move her limbs.

"I don't know how I can handle her 24 hours at home," the mother said.

The Times is not identifying the victim or her mother because of the nature of the crime.

The victim remains blinded by the attack. She uses a feeding tube. She is able to bend her knees.

About three weeks ago, she began suffering severe muscle spasms, which are common among patients with brain injuries. The spasms hinder her therapy sessions.

A nurse, an equipment specialist and an insurance representative are expected to visit the family's Brandon home today and recommend ways to modify it. For example, the daughter, whose bedroom is upstairs, must now take the downstairs bedroom. The bathroom must be roomy enough to accommodate medical equipment. Her wheelchair will require ramps.

The mother, drained from fighting over insurance coverage and caring for her daughter, tried to find something positive in the pending move home.

The victim, who communicates by squeezing her hand, is comfortable with her nurses and surroundings. The mother hopes a change in environment will stimulate her senses and force her to try harder in therapy to gain more independence.

The mother requested 24-hour nursing help but has not learned whether Medicaid will cover it. Changing and bathing her daughter require the efforts of two people.

"I know it will be very hard for me," the mother said, "but for my daughter, I am willing to try it."

She has read of brain-injured patients who took up to five years to recover. She cannot believe that nearly six months have passed since the attack.

"Even her laugh, it is like a baby's laugh. It's not like an 18-year-old girl's laugh," she said sadly. "It hurts to hear her laugh. I can see so clearly in my mind, like it was yesterday, my daughter coming home from school, getting out of her car, her backpack over her shoulder, and saying, 'Hi, Mom.' "

Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813)269-5312 or nguyen@sptimes.com.

Library rape victim must leave rehab hospital 10/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 6, 2008 11:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  2. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

    Obituaries

    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  3. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501
  4. Pasco County man killed in wrong-way crash on New Jersey Turnpike

    Accidents

    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities say a Florida man driving the wrong way on the New Jersey Turnpike was killed when his SUV crashed head-on into another vehicle.

  5. No bond for suspect in Kissimmee officers' fatal shooting

    Crime

    KISSIMMEE — A suspect in the fatal shooting of two police officers in Florida will be staying in jail after a judge denied him bond Sunday, saying there was probable cause for his first-degree murder charge

    Officers Matthew Baxter, left, and Sam Howard, right, who were both shot and killed in Kissimmee, Florida, on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. [Kissimmee Police]