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Shot tot still hoping to get back her eye

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Arlen Felix plays with her granddaughter, Sarah Headley, at the family’s home at Upper L’Anse Mitan Road, Carenage, yesterday. Sarah was shot in the forehead on May 20 when a gunman opened fire at a car in which she and her mother were passengers. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ

A month after being shot while in a taxi in Carenage, four-year-old Sarah Headley is asking her grandmother when she will get her eye back. The child lost sight in her right eye despite having surgery at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope. Yesterday, Sarah smiled with photographers and reporters but her mother, Alisha, and grandmother, Arleen Felix, say the child’s moods have been erratic since her surgery.



“She cries a lot and sometimes she gets very serious and doesn’t respond to us. She will smile now-and-again but her main feeling now is sadness,” Felix told reporters. Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development Vernella Toppin-Alleyne has promised to ensure the child and her family receive counselling, considering the drastic mood swings she had been experiencing.


Toppin-Alleyne, who visited the family’s Carenage home on behalf of Prime Minister and Minister of the People Kamla Persad-Bissessar, brought a hamper for the child and a food card for Alisha. She said the ministry would offer food support as Sarah’s mother was no longer employed, choosing to stay home to care for her daughter. The ministry will also assist the family with any necessary house repairs to make Sarah comfortable.


“We will give food support until school opens in September at which time we will help with school supplies and school uniforms. “We will offer whatever the family needs that the ministry can give. We brought a gift hamper for little Sarah so she can have some joy to replace the pain. She has had a lot of pain since this accident,” Toppin-Alleyne said.


The bullet which entered Sarah’s head, passing between her eyes before lodging in her neck, is still in her body. While her mother is fearful because of this, doctors have refused to remove the bullet as its position near a major artery they said it was dangerous to remove it. Toppin-Alleyne said the ministry would try to engage specialists to assess the child and would make the Children’s Life Fund available if it was necessary to send her for surgery outside T&T.


She acknowledged that there had been several cases of young children being hurt or killed recently and said the Child Protection Task Force, of which she was a member, had been working on several recommendations. She said those recommendations would look at legislation to make parents more accountable and fathers and mothers would be held more financially responsible for their children.


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