Roy was traveling to attend a wedding with his girlfriend when he was brutally attacked by several men he doesn't know in a downtown restaurant setting. There was no fight; there was no escalation. This was a random crime that could have happened to anyone, and unfortunately for Roy, it happened to him. (Please note we are unable to provide details about the location due to the ongoing investigation, but we will release details once all perpetrators are behind bars.)
Initially, Roy was stunned when a heavy pint glass was thrown into his face, shattering and slashing into his nose and forehead. At that point, horrifically, he was surrounded by 5-12 men and stabbed dozens of times by 2-3 of them. He sustained serious injuries all over his chest, abdomen, back, left side, and left arm in a vicious attack for which there can be no conceivable explanation.
Roy's girlfriend applied pressure to a severed artery near his heart, and when police arrived, they applied a tourniquet to his arm. Paramedics rushed him to a Level I Trauma Center only blocks away, and Roy received emergency heart surgery and had portions of his lungs removed. He underwent maxillofacial surgery as well, though even his cardiac surgeon didn't expect he would survive the night. When that doctor woke up the following day and saw the patient from Saturday night had lived, he actually refreshed his screen to make sure it was still current. And it was.
Over the course of the next week, Roy's ravaged body continually said, "Not today," and he surpassed every expectation of his team of 25 doctors, always two days ahead of their most optimistic schedule. First, they were able to change the setting of the ventilator so he could initiate breath himself, and then the ventilator was removed altogether. His blood pressure rose to normal levels even as the blood pressure medication was decreased. Once he regained consciouness, he was able to whisper and speak minimally, and it became evident that Roy hadn't suffered brain damage from the extensive loss of blood. This fact is as miraculous as his very survival. Our family was stuffed into his room in the Surgical ICU, almost paralyzed with fear until we could be sure that he was fully back with us, intellectually and emotionally. And he is.
Roy was discharged from the trauma center after 14 days and flew home to Miami to begin his long recovery process. We feel strongly that his survival is a miracle, as well as the fact that he has suffered no brain damage. After seven weeks, his lungs have returned almost to normal capacity, but there is much bad news mixed with the good. Doctors are still assessing the long-term effects on Roy's heart as some of his heart tissue and key pulmonary arteries are permanently damaged. Additionally, with most of the stab wounds healing up well, one surprisingly large hurdle has been his left arm. Roy has not yet regained full use of his left hand, and while he is going to physical therapy multiple times per week, he cannot currently perform job-related tasks such as typing, or some of his favorite activities such as swimming and playing guitar. It has been a very long road to this point, and to be perfectly honest, it will continue to be.
Fortunately, Roy does have medical insurance through his job, but paying his portion of the hospital bill is going to be a challenge, to say the least. While we are grateful for his disability payments, there's no escaping the actual math--they are only a fraction of his usual salary, and they don't cover his lost wages and sick days from the first two weeks of his long recovery. Roy's working life might be on hold, but his rent, utilities, car payment, etc, are not. Additionally, Roy has had two young children to provide for during this crisis. Ben and Noah are ages 11 and 7, and while someday they will be able to grasp the actual miracle that their father is still here with us, they still need the bills to be paid in the meantime.
A group of strangers went out one night and, for no discernible reason, took things from Roy that can't be replaced. Despite all he has been through, however, we still believe there are more good people in the world than there are bad, and we are asking his broader community to please ensure that of all the things Roy has to worry about right now, paying the bills and putting food on the table isn't one of them.
- Barbara Clark
- Michael Delahoz
- John Kelman
Organizer and beneficiary
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