Ivan Cuevas, 17, has defied the odds. After a month in the hospital and another in rehab, he’s walking, speaking, and back at school.
A year ago Tuesday, Ivan Cuevas wasn’t expected to survive.
The Mayfair high schooler, then 16, had been shot in the back of the head, running from a gunman who opened fire on a group of students outside Lincoln High School. Rushed to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, he scored the lowest possible rating on a standard coma assessment scale.
But as doctors threaded a breathing tube down his throat, he gasped — a sign that he still had some activity in his brain stem, pediatric neurosurgeon Tina Loven realized. Despite Ivan’s slim chances, Loven and her colleagues decided to operate.
On Tuesday, the patient she took a chance on walked into St. Christopher’s and enveloped her in a bear hug. Ivan, now 17, has defied the odds. After a month in the hospital and another in rehab, he’s walking, speaking, back at school, playing basketball, and working a part-time job at McDonald’s. On the one-year anniversary of his shooting, he wanted to thank the doctors and nurses who saved his life.
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“It really speaks to his determination to live — and not just live, but come here walking, talking. If you didn’t know this happened to him, you would have no idea.”