Less than an hour after a priest read him his last rites, the Skowhegan teenager who was shot in the head with a pellet gun over the weekend began moving, and is expected to survive his brain injury, his mother said.
Charles “Charlie” Quimby, 19, remained in stable condition at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor on Tuesday, with the pellet that entered through his right temple and pierced his brain still lodged in his head, said his mother, Lauri Quimby.
“I know my son, he’s really strong,” Lauri Quimby, 45, said. “It just wasn’t meant to be that he’d die. You know when you can feel it?”
But her son’s prognosis wasn’t so optimistic on Sunday afternoon, when a doctor said he wouldn’t live, Lauri Quimby said.
Around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, the 19-year-old was flown by a LifeFlight helicopter from Skowhegan to Bangor, after his friend, 20-year-old William McCarty, called 911 to report that Charlie had been shot in the head inside McCarty’s Joyce Street residence, according to Skowhegan police Chief David Bucknam.
McCarty allegedly pulled the trigger, according to Skowhegan police who continue to investigate the incident. It’s still unclear what happened that afternoon while the young men, whom Lauri Quimby described as on-and-off friends, were hanging out, she said.
About an hour after Charlie been checked into EMMC on Sunday, a doctor told his parents that their son wouldn’t make it, Lauri Quimby said. Surgery was too dangerous, they were told.
As dozens of his friends packed into the hospital waiting room, a priest came to Charlie’s hospital bed and read him his last rites, his mother said. Then, less than two hours after he arrived at the hospital, her son started moving.
“I’m telling you, it was right after the priest did his thing,” Lauri Quimby said. “I believe that that kind of played into it.”
Doctors had to put mittens on Charlie’s hands because he was yanking at his IV tubes. He was heavily medicated and his gaze was empty, but he sat up and said hello, and was able to respond to commands from doctors, his mother said.
Around 3 p.m. Monday — a little more than 24 hours after Charlie was shot — doctors removed his ventilator tube because he was able to breathe on his own, Lauri said.
Charlie has a long way to go before the doctors understand the long-term effects of his injuries, she said. He is the second youngest of her five children, and her oldest son.
The real healing will start once the swelling in his brain goes down, she said, and the pellet will likely stay in his brain forever because surgery to remove it could cause further damage.
Charlie’s fighting spirit will likely get him through, his mother said. Just three weeks before Sunday’s incident, he was “so freaking proud” to receive his high school diploma after taking an extra year to complete his degree.
“He’s the guy that gets it done,” she said.
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