Student in coma needs support

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Every morning she wakes up hoping to hear her daughter’s voice again. Instead, Susie Bailey rises to see her daughter’s body lying motionless in the bed as she has for the past three years.

Alicia Bailey was one of the brightest rising stars to ever walk the halls of Southwestern College. She began her trail blaze on campus at the very young age of 14, officially enrolling at the age of 16.

It did not take long until she found herself at the doors of the award-winning SWC Sun newspaper. As an editor Alicia won an extensive list of awards and found her calling. In 2006 Alicia won the SWC Student of Distinction Award.  She had just turned 18, the youngest winner ever. She graduated summa cum laude from UCLA and was applying for doctorate programs at elite American and European universities.

“Alicia Bailey had the world at her elegant fingertips,” said Professor of Journalism Max Branscomb, her advisor at the SWC Sun. “Her goal was to work for the United Nations or a global health organization serving the poorest people of AIDS-stricken Africa.”

Alicia’s future came to a crashing halt on her drive home from work early one spring morning. She suffered a diabetic blackout and crashed her car at full speed into a tree on Otay Lakes Road, changing her life forever. The accident took place just around the corner from SWC, leaving Bailey with a traumatic head wound. She has been unconscious ever since.  For three years the Bailey family has waited by her side, caring for her 24/7, always with hope and anticipation. Until now.

“I am running out of patience,” said her mother, Susie Bailey. “The doctors here are overworked and do not have the time to follow her progress or regression.”

After months at the hospital and exhausted health insurance coverage, Alicia’s mother, a nurse, took her home to care for her.  She quit her position at a local hospital to give her daughter full-time care and attention. Alicia is home, but respirators and monitors have replaced much of the mementos and awards that once decorated her room.

“Alicia needs time and I am determined to give that to her,” her mother said. “She moves her left and right side minimally, and makes small noises that sound more like grunts. However, with all the progress made she only seems to be suffering more.”

A new medical facility, however, has brought hope to Alicia’s family.

The International Brain Research Foundation in New Jersey reports dramatic successes with new brain-injury treatments. Unlike facilities where Alicia has received treatment at in San Diego, the New Jersey facility has developed a Disorders of Consciousness Advanced Care Protocol, which, Susie Bailey said, is exactly what Alicia needs. Alicia is set to undergo an initial four months of intensive testing using electric shock, as well as physical and occupational therapy.

Alicia’s latest computed tomography brain scan shows signs of a person with no brain damage, but an inability to wake up. Some neurologists have told Alicia’s family that she could get 95 percent of her function back.

“It’s like her brain is turned off,” said her mother. “We just need to get it turned back on.”

Cost is a barrier. Transferring to the facility will cost an estimated $125,000. The fees do not include living expenses for the Bailey family while Alicia undergoes treatment for a year. The initial assessment fee is $25,000, after which the family will need to pay $1,500 a week for the remainder of her treatment.

“We are between a rock and a hard place,” said Alicia’s grandfather, Mike Bailey. “There is no place like this in California. Right now we are trying to make arrangements to get her there. She is supposed to be there by June 1.”

While Alicia’s condition is listed as stable, to transport her safely the family is required to drive her across country by ambulance service. Travel will cost the family $25,000.

“We need a miracle, an angel, to help Alicia,” said Mike Bailey. “It’s a miracle she survived the crash. It’s a miracle her brain is not entirely damaged. It’s a miracle that she has improved. We need one more miracle — we need to help Alicia to wake up.”

 

To offer support to Alicia Bailey please contact Vivian “Susie” Bailey at vbailey4464@hotmail.com or mbranscomb@swccd.edu.

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