SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A brain-damaged 11-year-old girl who was nearly removed from life support before she suddenly began breathing on her own was moved to a rehabilitation center Thursday.
Haleigh Poutre had been hospitalized since September with severe brain injuries that authorities say were inflicted by her stepfather and adoptive mother.
Less than two weeks ago, the state Department of Social Services won approval from the state's highest court to remove Haleigh from life support, saying she would never recover from her vegetative state. But a day later, she started showing signs of improvement, and she was weaned off her ventilator.
Now, agency officials said, Haleigh can move her eyes toward where she hears a sound.
"There's so much absolute hope now," department spokeswoman Denise Monteiro.
Haleigh's stepfather, Jason Strickland, has been charged with assault and could face a murder charge if she dies.
Her adoptive mother was also charged with assault, but died alongside her grandmother in an apparent murder-suicide about two weeks after Haleigh was hospitalized.