Long road ahead for injured circus performers - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Long road ahead for injured circus performers

Long road ahead for injured circus performers

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By: ABC6 News Staff


Reporting by: Samantha Lavien


Doctors at Rhode Island Hospital provided an update on the injured circus performers during a press conference Wednesday. Two of the women suffered critical spinal cord injuries and at this time it's not known if they'll ever walk again.

Following the terrifying fall at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence Sunday morning 9 people were rushed to RI Hospital– eight of whom were acrobats in the Ringling Brothers 'Human Chandelier.' Doctors say there is good news and bad news. While the performers are no longer in danger of losing their lives there is a long road ahead for some of them.

In the days since the accident doctors have performed a total of 17 surgeries on the 8 women.

"Minutes after the event Rhode island hospital received 9 patients many of whom had obvious, significant and complex injuries," said Dr. Timothy Babineau, President and CEO of Lifespan and Rhode Island Hospital.

Among the most seriously injured are two acrobats who have spinal cord fractures. When those performers came in to the hospital they were not moving their legs. Doctors say they have improved slightly, but it's not clear at this time whether or not they will be able to walk again.

"We don't know ultimately what the long term prognosis is going to be and we won't know for some time," said Dr. Adetokunbo Oyelese, a neurosurgeon at RI Hospital.

Of the 7 patients still hospitalized four remain in serious condition, and 3 are in good condition. Doctors say the women are all determined to perform again.

"I can tell you that these patients– these performers– have been truly inspirational. Over the past couple of days I have heard countless stories from our staff regarding the courage, the positive attitude, and the strong desire to get better quickly that has been demonstrated by these patients," said Dr. Babineau.

Each of the women is expected to undergo significant rehab, which doctors say they want to do together.

It's not known at this time if it will be possible for any of them to return to the circus in the future.

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