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Jan 9, 2006

Shooting victim will be paralyzed for life

Story PictureIt was one of many violent incidents that turned the Christmas season into a time of tragedy for too many Belizean families. Tonight, while we can report that while one innocent shooting victim will survive, her life will be far from complete.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Twenty-three year old Lisa Garoy is having a very difficult time accepting the fact that she will never be able to walk again. Three weeks ago, Garoy was shot in the abdomen while she was holding her four month old baby boy. The child received a bullet wound to his right hand and doctors at first believed that they would have had to amputate his arm, but it appears the little boy will do just fine and not loose the limb. Unfortunately there is nothing doctors can do to repair the damage done to the young mother.

Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes, Neuro/Spinal Surgeon, KHMH
?Lisa Garoy was unfortunately wounded by a bullet that entered the abdomen and exited close to the spine at the L2 vertebrae. This shattered the spine causing her nervous tissue to be damaged irreversibly as such and due to that she is a paraplegic, which means that she won?t ever walk again.?

Garoy, who has lost all feelings from her waist down, remains at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

Lisa Garoy, Shooting Victim
?I am tired of lying down on this bed. I want to get up and go home to my pickney them. I tired ah deh inna this pain, I can?t sleep… to sleep, I have to ignore the pain.?

Neuro and spinal surgeon Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes says the pain is due to a complication caused by the unstable spinal fracture. Cervantes, who has been handling the case since Garoy was admitted, says it is an emotional time for everyone involved.

Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes
?Her main complaint right now is pain, very striking pain that no human being in their right senses would withstand for all their life… I think it is very hard on her and each time I enter the room she cries and obviously that touches everybody?s heart.?

Cynthia Gentle says it is difficult to watch her daughter cry out in pain and describes the experience as being on a rollercoaster ride, never knowing when it will stop.

Cynthia Gentle, Mother
?Because every night she bawls. Every night she bawls about the pain in her foot. We try to rub her foot, we try rub her head, we try do all little things to mek she get ease, but nothing ease and she has this little thing here [[picks up toy]. I feel like when she cannot sleep, she plays with it because she was playing with this up to one o?clock last night.?

Although there is nothing that can be done to help get Garoy back on her feet, there is an operation that can be performed right here in Belize that will not only help to ease the pain, but help the young mother at least sit up in bed. Presently, the spine is very unstable and Garoy must remain in a lying position.

Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes
?By having the surgery, it gives her a better chance upon stabilising the spine, much of the pain goes away.?

?This surgery what it does is we do a fixation procedure as such by stabilising the spine at the elements that are above and below the fracture. It?s like a bridge, you putting a bridge one level above and also below. And this way you are bypassing the site that has the fracture, but you are making that whole component very stable.?

However, time is not a luxury that the doctors and Garoy have. As in most cases, a delay has been caused because the family does not have the money to pay for the operation, the special brace, and other medical expenses.

Cynthia Gentle
?Without the operation, she can?t sit down so she really needs it, the ten thousand dollars to take the operation. The brace noh deh here in Belize, it deh way dah Guatemala… So we would a really need to ask the public to try help inna any way to let her get out of bed, at least to sit down.?

If you would like to assist the family in purchasing the brace Lisa Garoy will need and help the family meet other medical expenses you can get in touch with Cynthia Gentle at the KHMH or you can make your deposit into Atlantic Bank Account number 210?655?682. Jacqueline Woods reporting for News Five.

Twenty year old Brandel Michael has been charged with four counts of attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of dangerous harm, and one count of use of deadly means of harm in connection with the shooting.

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