PONCA CITY BABY RESPONDING TO SOUND FOLLOWING SEVERE HEAD TRAUMA
News 9 - July 25, 2023 4:34 pm
PONCA CITY, Okla. –
An infant who police say suffered severe head trauma in the hands of her babysitter has opened her eyes and is responding to sound.
Rebekah McCauley recorded video of her granddaughter, 2-month-old Korra Burdick, at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City on Sunday. The video showed Korra in her hospital bed at the pediatric intensive care unit looking at McCauley while McCauley spoke to her.
“We have a weight on this arm over here because this arm likes to wiggle,” McCauley said in the video.
Baby Korra, who will turn 3 months old on July 27, was critically injured on July 14 while in the care of her babysitter, 26-year-old Holly Sheppard, said Ponca City Police. Investigators said Sheppard initially claimed she did not know how the infant got hurt. But she later said she dropped the baby twice, according to police.
Sheppard told investigators she dropped Korra after tripping over a toy, the probable cause affidavit stated. But doctors thought the brain injury was too extensive to be caused by a drop. Police said they arrested Sheppard for child neglect, child abuse and obstruction of justice. Bond was set at $500,000 and she was ordered not to have contact with children, according to records. She’s scheduled to be in court on Friday.
McCauley said Korra suffered two skull fractures, swelling of the brain and brain bleed.
“When she came out of surgery (at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital), I just really questioned if we were going to make it through the night,” McCauley said.
But Korra did make it, and since then, she has made remarkable progress. For one, Korra’s seizures have stopped. In addition, the baby appears to be responsive since she was taken off sedation.
“Before I left Sunday night, she was asleep, and I went to tell her goodbye. And I just said, ‘Hey Peach, granny’s got to go now.’ And when I said that, she opened her eyes and looked right at me,” McCauley recalled. “It was very exciting to see her respond to the sound of my voice. And of course, I just cried.”
To further help Korra heal, hospital staff began her occupational therapy began on Monday to improve her mobility.
“So they worked with her hands, range of motion in her legs to just basically work her muscles,” McCauley explained.
However, McCauley said Korra’s left side isn’t showing as much movement because she suffered a stroke to the right side of her brain.
“When they come in and they run their test every hour, they pinch each toe, pinch each finger, make sure that she is responding, and it’s a little more difficult and a lot slower on the left,” said McCauley.
Despite that, McCauley is optimistic that Korra can make a full recovery.
“I am confident that we can come out of this,” McCauley said. “She was very expressive with her eyebrows so I’m just believing that we’re not going to have any permanent damage.”
Korra is expected to be in the pediatric intensive care unit for weeks. With her parents missing work to be by her side, the community has organized several fundraisers to benefit the family.