Lawyer: Beaten Florida teen suffering from brain damage

Linda Sarimiento, aunt of Josie Lou Ratley speaks during a news conference as attorney Rick Freedman looks on, Friday, March 19, 2010 at Broward General Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The brutal beating of Josie Lou Ratley, a 15-year-old girl at a Florida middle school was triggered by a text message dispute between the victim and the teenage boy accused punching and stomping on her with steel-toed boots, authorities said.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Amy Beth Bennett/The A
Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 8:22 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 8:22 a.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The 15-year-old girl who authorities say was brutally attacked by another teen at a Florida middle school is suffering from brain damage.

Rick Freedman, a family lawyer for Josie Lou Ratley, says the teen suffered damage to the left side of her brain and cannot breathe on her own. He also said she is fighting off pneumonia.

Over the weekend, Freedman said doctors at Broward General Medical Center attempted to wean Ratley off coma-inducing drugs, but had to administer them again when she developed a high fever.

According to investigators, a 15-year-old boy punched and stomped on Ratley with steel-toed boots on the campus of Deerfield Beach Middle School. He has been held at a juvenile detention center on a charge of premeditated attempted murder.

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