Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An awesome update on Haleigh Poutre

Recap: Haleigh Poutre was an 11-year-old girl from Massachusetts who had been severely beaten by her stepfather. Doctors diagnosed her as being in an irreversible persistent vegetative state (like Terri Schiavo) and the Massachusetts Department of Social Services fought for and won a court order to remove Haleigh from life support - i.e. to kill her. Just before the order was carried out, Haleigh started breathing on her own. She eventually came out of her coma and has been receiving recovery therapy.

Now Michelle brings us another inspiring update about now 14-year-old Haleigh - she's speaking again:
Defying all odds, the brain-damaged Westfield girl who was days away from a state order to remove her from life support in 2006 is now communicating information about the horrific abuse that nearly killed her, according to new court documents.

Although once thought to be brain-dead, Haleigh Poutre, who turned 14 on Sunday, is now ‘making statements alleging abuse” by her stepfather Jason Strickland, according to a motion filed in Hampden Superior Court last month by Strickland’s attorney, Alan Black of Springfield.

Haleigh is recovering at a Brighton rehabilitation hospital, where her condition has reportedly vastly improved since the legal battle over her life captured national headlines in 2006.


Eight days after Haleigh’s near-fatal beating, DSS sought a court order allowing Haleigh to be removed from life support. Jason Strickland objected, but in January 2006, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that DSS could remove Haleigh from life support. The next day, DSS announced that Haleigh was breathing on her own, and it had halted plans to remove her feeding tube.

News reports last year indicated that Haleigh could eat, write her name and flex muscles - all activities that doctors once said would never be possible.

From a diagnosis of no hope to a court order authorizing the state to kill her to breathing, eating, moving, writing and talking within 3 years. Pretty amazing!

Previous posts:

Haleigh Poutre proves miracles DO happen
Haleigh Poutre continues to recover
Haleigh Poutre turns 12; receiving physical therapy
Haleigh Poutre continues to improve; Michelle asks where Tookie's supporters are
The sanctity of Haleigh's life

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