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Jan 27, 2006

Lisa Garoy defies medicine in fight to walk again

Story PictureJust one week before Christmas, Lisa Garoy and her four month old son were brutally gunned-down near her home in Taylor’s Alley. While the baby has recovered from the injuries, tonight his mother remains admitted to ward at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. But as we have noted throughout our coverage of this heart wrenching story, although Lisa Garoy is stuck in bed, she’s not taking her condition lying down. With financial help from the community, earlier this month Garoy underwent a procedure that could alter the predictions of paralysis for the young mother. Today I visited with Garoy and found a woman determined to defy the odds and walk out of the hospital.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Twenty-three year old Lisa Garoy?s progress has amazed the medical staff at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The initial prognosis was that this single mother would not be able to walk again after she was shot in the abdomen in mid-December. But the young woman never gave up hope, a confidence fuelled by the fact that just before going to surgery, Garoy started moving her right leg and toes. For weeks, she was unable to move and was forced to remain in a lying position due to a severe spinal injury.

One week ago, Garoy underwent a five-hour operation to repair the damage and be able to use a brace that would help her at least sit up and get around in a wheel chair.

Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes, Neuro/Spinal Surgeon, KHMH
?Well I am surprised. I am surprised because her neurological deficit before surgery was that she was totally paralysed from both legs. We did not expect this outcome?it?s a very favourable outcome to see her move her toes and especially her right leg. We?re surprised, we don?t know how far this improvement can go, but yes, it does seem to be a very positive development on her behalf.?

Lisa is still not able to get up on her own and she still complains of pain, especially in her left leg and lower back. Movement is crucial to her recovery, though it is clearly an uncomfortable time. This afternoon as Lisa was moved from her bed to a wheelchair, she was visited by her neuro and spinal surgeon Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes. Lisa has been having some difficulty and her left leg is swollen. Dr. Cervantes says from a clinical observation, she may be suffering from a number of post-operative complications.

Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes
?We have identified a problem in the left leg and this could be due to her prolonged condition that she has been lying down for a long time, over a month. We must remember that she had injury both to the abdominal region and that she had surgery to explore the organs within the abdomen, and then after she got better from that stage, she had surgery in her spine. Now she has been lying down for a long time, so we?re worrying and wondering if in her left leg she might have a complication that we call deep vein thrombosis, which means that sometimes the veins can get a bit clogged up because the patient has been lying down for a long time. So this means we?ll have to ask for a special ultrasound that we call a Doppler, to see what the conditions of the venous strains are like and based on that to see what specific type of treatment has to be done. In all effect, obviously we are already giving preventative treatment so that if she should have this complication, we can avoid it getting worse.?

Jacqueline Woods
?And that is what?s contributing to the swelling too??

Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes
?Yes, precisely. As you all will note, the left leg is swollen compared to the right leg, and also, she has less movement in the left leg than the right leg. So our clinical suspicion right now is we have to rule out her having injury to the venous components within her lower left limb and that?s why we?ll probably ask for a study in the not too distant future.?

It will be a long road to complete recovery, a recovery that will include many painful hours of physical therapy. But today Lisa says she is encouraged every time she gets to sit up and move around in the wheel chair.

Lisa Garoy, Recovering Paraplegic
?It feels good, it feels much better.?

Jacqueline Woods
?You have certainly come a long way since you were first admitted??

Lisa Garoy
?Yes.?

Lisa says she tries not to remember the tragedy, focusing instead on getting better. A major source of motivation is regular visits by her children.

Lisa Garoy
?I want to thank the public and all the people them that been there for me.?

Dr. Andre Joel Cervantes
?Yes, she has come along way, a very surprising long way.?

Dr. Cervantes remains cautiously optimistic about his patient?s continued progress, still uncertain whether or not Lisa will on day be able to walk on her own.

The man charged with the attempted murder of Lisa Garoy and her child is twenty year old Brandel Michael, a former messenger of the Magistrate’s Court in Belize City.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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