HOPE FOR SARAH
By Marlene Augustine Thursday, June 19 2014
Four-year-old Sarah Headley remains mostly a joyous child despite the odds of having to live with a bullet lodged in her neck and which doctors are wary of removing, at least for the moment.
Sarah was the little girl who was severely wounded when gunshots pierced the taxi in which she was travelling , one bullet entered the middle of her forehead and made its way to her neck where it remains in her body almost a month later.
The incident took place on May 20 in the Carenage area when a man opened fire on another vehicle which was travelling in the opposite direction on the L’Anse Mitan Road. Sarah was on her way home with her mother, Alisha Headley, when she was hit by the stray bullet. Her survival is regarded as a miracle and she has defied most of the negatives as she continues to receive medical attention as an out patient of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC), Mt Hope.
Her mother told Newsday that most times Sarah is chatty and playful, but admits to seeing her enter mood swings as if recalling the tragic incident.
“It is very sad to see her like this because she is such a joyous child,” the mother said. “And I hope and pray that the doctors can find a way to remove the bullet from her neck.”
When Newsday visited the family yesterday Sarah was all smiles although not speaking. But her mother told us that despite the injury she speaks a lot, and has no problems eating and drinking.
Her grandmother, Arlene Felix, who lives with Sarah and her mother, says she is a bit worried, mostly over the child’s mood swings, but moreso about the bullet that remains lodged in her neck.Her mother is also concerned over whether Sarah will be able to return to the private school she attends in the area. She is scheduled to resume classes in September. On this she says she will have to wait and see and get feedback from Sarah’s teachers if she takes up her classes then.
Yesterday, Sarah was all smiles at her home, when she received a hamper from the Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, who visited the little girl and her family at their home on L’Anse Mitan Road, Carenage. Alleyne-Toppin presented a hamper and a food card worth $1,100. She said Sarah will also be given counselling to help her cope with the tragic incident. Alleyne-Toppin said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked her to visit on her behalf, to offer help to Sarah and her family.
She said her Ministry will continue to provide assistance to Sarah and her family. “Today we have brought a little gift hamper for Sarah, so that she can feel some joy rather than pain. Some few weeks ago she had a lot of pain and mood changes, due to the ordeal she has been through. We are giving her the toys and hope it would help make her happy,” the Minister said.
Sarah removed one of the toys, a teddy bear, from the hamper and began to play with it. But this was short lived as she tossed it aside and became quite melancholy. But she soon returned to her jovial self, smiling away as she was being photographed by Newsday. She even played a hand-clap game with a reporter covering the visit.
The bullet which hit little Sarah, went through her forehead between her eyes, travelled downwards and destroyed a lot of the area between her sinus. It travelled a little further down and lodged in Sarah’s neck. She wears a bandage on her forehead to cover the spot where the bullet entered.
She continues to visit the children’s clinic at the EWMSC to be monitored and to receive treatment before doctors decide whether they can remove the bullet lodged in her neck.
Sarah’s mother welcomed the help from the Ministry but her wish is for her daughter to regain her sight in her right eye so she can return to a normal life.