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Injured girl breathing on own

August 07, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

The Heise/Shockey family has reason to be optimistic for the first time in weeks as 5-year-old Shania Shockey, who was run over by a van last month, is breathing on her own again, less than a week after doctors nearly took her off life-support, according to her father Bill Heise.

The family was pleased at how responsive the girl was during a visit Wednesday evening, but she has a long way to go to recover from severe injuries, Heise said.

Heise said his daughter is in guarded care, with 24-hour nursing supervision, at the Children's Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Shania was in an induced coma until Monday, when doctors determined she could breathe on her own, according to Heise.

Heise said doctors last week began to consider taking Shania off life-support because of her grave condition.

Heise said Wednesday afternoon Shania has been breathing on her own since Monday. He said the family has noted other positive signs, including that Shania is moving her legs and arms.

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"She is doing a lot better," Heise said. "They (doctors) were going to pull the plug a week ago. It's amazing what that hospital has done for her."

Later Wednesday, Heise said the visit to Shania in the hospital was the most positive and encouraging so far. Shania responded with the correct physical motions with her fingers when commanded by doctors and was speaking coherently to family members, Heise said.

"She's talking to us, and she doesn't want us to leave," Heise said during a cellular phone call from the hospital. "She was saying, 'Mommy, Mommy.'"

Heise said doctors told him Shania likely would spend another month at Children's Medical Center before being transferred to Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore for a minimum rehabilitation stint of two months. Children's Medical Center doctors said Shania suffered brain damage, according to Heise.

"She's basically going to have to start over again as a child," he said.

A medical center spokeswoman could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Shania was injured on July 21 when a van driven by Roger B. Seal, 24, of Hagerstown, struck the youngster in a parking lot/backyard area behind her of 50 E. Baltimore St. home, Hagerstown City Police have said.

Witnesses said the girl was playing with a hula hoop at the rear of the van before the accident.

Heise said he believed his daughter's hula hoop got caught on the van's spare tire rack, and she was pulled under the van because she did not let go.

"For the life of me, I don't know how it could happen, especially in my own driveway," he said.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to police. No charges have been filed.

Heise said Seal was distraught over the accident and has visited Shania in the hospital multiple times.

"He's all shook up over it," Heise said.

After the accident, Heise erected a fence to divide the children's play area from the public lot where Shania was injured.

At the family's home, which houses 11 of Shania's brothers and sisters, children were playing in the now smaller yard. The family is preparing to celebrate the birthday of one of Shania's older brothers and her mother, Charlotte Shockey, is about three weeks from giving birth again. And Heise has returned to work after taking two weeks off.

"I had to go to work. It was driving me nuts sitting around thinking about it," he said.

Tanya Shockey, Shania Shockey's 15-year-old sister, said the 5-year-old's slightly older and younger siblings are not fully aware of why their sister isn't at home.

"They think she's sick," Tanya Shockey said. "They're constantly coming up to me asking, 'How is Shania? Is she O.K.? Where is Shi-Shi?'"

Tanya Shockey, like others in the family, is hopeful her sister will fully recover.

"She's stubborn and difficult, so I think she'll make it through," she said.

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