Fla toddler injured by lawn mower has more surgery

Ireland Nugent sits up with the help of her father, Jerry Nugent, during a tour of the Tampa General Hospital playroom Wednesday, the 2-year-old's first full day of consciouness after four surgeries.

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 9:29 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 9:29 a.m.

TAMPA, Fla. — The little girl whose legs were severed by a lawn mower has suffered a setback as she recovers from her injuries.

Doctors discovered that a skin graft on Ireland Nugent's right leg was not successful, leading to a surgery on Tuesday. Family spokesman Dennis Reid — pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clearwater — told the Tampa Bay Times the 2-year-old faces two more surgeries to further cleanse the leg and do a second skin graft.

The little girl was injured April 11 when she ran after her father, Jerry Nugent, as he rode a lawn mower up the driveway at their Palm Harbor home. Her mother, Nicole Nugent, frantically motioned for him to stop, but he misunderstood, put the lawn mower in reverse and backed over the child. Her legs were severed below the knees and she had cuts to her hand. She also broke her thumb.

The child was flown to Tampa General Hospital, where she endured four surgeries. She has been recovering and even left the intensive care unit over the weekend, Reid said.

Then doctors discovered the infection and a fifth surgery was performed.

Before the surgery, Ireland had been interacting with her family and had been removed from a breathing device. After the infection was discovered, she was returned to the breathing apparatus and went back to the intensive care unit.

According to the Times, doctors found the infection while "shrink-wrapping" the remains of the child's legs and tightening the tips of the stumps to prepare her for prosthetic limbs.

In photos Reid shared with the newspaper on Tuesday, the child is seen with her mother in a hospital playroom, her legs and hand bandaged, and spending time with her father.

Reid called the infection a "minor setback," but it deflated the family's hope of bringing Ireland home this week. The additional surgeries could also postpone fitting the child for prosthetic limbs.

"They're disappointed," Reid told the parents. "They were really hoping to get her to come home, but they also realize that with something like this, it's three steps forward, one step back, and then forward again."

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