herald

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Family's relief as coma mum Nicole finally starts rehab

horrific: Victim endured 100-day wait for therapy

A 27-year-old Irish mother will finally enter a rehabilitation centre in the US, 100 days after a horrific car crash that left her in a coma.

Nicole Ryan Graham, originally from Moyross in Limerick and Meelick, Co Clare has been issued with a temporary green card and can avail of Medicaid for the first time.

She will now be transferred to the Meadowbrook Rehab Center in Gardner, Kansas, where her family is hoping that concentrated care will accelerate her recovery.

Her mum Caroline spoke of her relief at the news that her daughter would finally be getting the treatment she needs.

"I am so happy for her because this is just what she needs now. I am also sad at the same time as she has been in the hospital for 100 days and we have met some nice people who we won't forget," she said.

"Nicole is awake but not responding to a lot of everyday things. Some days she will do things other days not, this is where rehab will help her. She needs constant interaction and she will get that at rehab, but she is doing really well going forwards and that is all we can ask for right now."

The mother of three young girls has been in a coma since a horrific car crash in Kansas on February 8.

Employed as a court clerk in Kansas, Nicole is mother of Kendra, Katie and Kellsey, aged between 20 months and 11 years.

In recent weeks she has begun breathing on her own and responding to treatment

Nicole's aunt Leslie Dillon (34) told the Herald that her niece's hospital bill was in excess of $1m (€795,544) and spoke of her relief that her treatment will now be covered by Medicaid.

"She left the hospital for the rehab centre yesterday. We finally got word that Medicaid was covering her rehab costs," she said.

"She's really coming on well, she's moving in the right direction.

"Yesterday marked her 100th day in hospital and the doctors were telling Caroline that she was the longest staying coma patient they ever had.

"She's breathing on her own and responding well to treatment, we're all bouncing around and there's a lot of excitement in the family.

"I was over there with her four weeks ago. I was speaking with one of her doctors and he told me that her hospital bill was in excess of $1m.

"What can you do but keep on smiling and soldiering on?

"When I was over there she suffered a setback, she had bleeding on her brain and suffered a stroke and things were not looking good but she bounced back fantastically. For her to come through what she has just shows how strong she is.

"Every night I talk to Nicole on Skype and she always reacts to my voice, it's down to how well her rehab goes really."

hnews@herald.ie

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