Letter to the Editor: Report signs of child abuse

To the Editor:
It has been approximately 18 months since I received the horrific nightmare of a phone call from a family member, as her voice trembled, and then a burst of blood-curdling screaming and crying broke out. Then I had to call another family member to find out what had just happened. Because the family was in a state of shock hearing the news, the only thing I could figure out was that our little princess (an 18-month baby girl) had fallen down a flight of many stairs and was being airlifted from Prairie du Chien, WI to Iowa City in very critical condition.
My adrenaline kicked in and I had left work and found myself in Iowa City without remembering the drive from Ames. The story was the same when we got to the hospital, that she had fallen down the stairs. Hours and hours, days and days went by, as our princess’ room full of monitors beeped, IV tubes connected to her little body in multiple places, and every breath she took was faithfully taken from the life support machine. Tears fell in the room for days as we stood speechless at her bedside.
Against some wishes, our family insisted on a bedside baptism. It was on this day, the primary person of interest in this injury, who stood at the foot of the bed during the baptism, went into hiding for approximately 42 days. The walls had caved in as the DCI, the doctors, etc., were all in agreement, per the doctor’s reports, that the fall down the stairs was not the truth. We had been in the presence of a monster, a demon amongst others at the foot of an innocent child’s bed, clinging hopelessly for life; an innocent child who was taken off life support around day 10, to be lifted up by the heavenly angels, and no longer have to live in pain, or fear of monsters. But this princess beat all odds against living on her own.
Eighteen months later, she now lives in a rehabilitation center, hoping to come home some day in 2015. She may not be able to eat on her own, walk on her own, or even regain her speech due to the extensive injuries, but she knows who loves her, and smiles and laughs, kicks her legs, and loves to go for rides in her hot pink wheelchair with light-up front wheels. Although this little princess is a great niece to me, I love her like my own child. We have a lot of fun together and she adores our family.
I recently heard a family member in tears, stating that she felt that everyone has forgotten about her little princess, and I quickly reminded her that that was truly not the case. The Larson/Johnson family has been there for this little princess, Myah Ann Larson, from day one, and there are a lot of people out there who have a special place for her in their heart. Contributions are still being accepted to help the father and his family travel to be at her side, with further details about that and her progress being available at http://www.gofundme.com/LarsonJohnsonFund. I have also been selling teddy bears to help support our family’s visit travel expenses.
In closing, please review these statistics: Each year in the United States, child abuse and neglect kill about 2,000 infants and children, and cause about 18,000 to become permanently disabled. Over 400,000 children live in foster care because of abuse or neglect. Most child abuse and neglect is committed by parents and parents’ spouses or boyfriends/girlfriends – not strangers, daycare providers, or other adults. These statistics and more information can be found at http://www.publiccounsel.org/tools/publications/files/Is-my-Baby-Safe.pdf. Please be aware of signs of abuse and report them immediately.

Laurie McCracken
Nevada, IA