Rock Island district shooting victim still fighting for his life

Local News

Darien Ramsdale’s hospital stay has been far from easy.

Ramsdale is one of the 6 people that were injured in the August 29 shooting. One man was killed. Ramsdale was hit in the neck by a stray bullet and is likely to be paralyzed. He was recently moved from the intensive care unit last week.

His mother Wendy Ramsdale said his recovery has been full of setbacks. 

“He got pneumonia, and then a little later he got MRSA, so then all of the surgeries we had planned were put off,” she said. “Then he got COVID-19, so nobody could visit him for 2 weeks.”

Despite delays, he had surgery yesterday to insert a rare diaphragm pacer to help with his breathing. His mother said he is the oldest recipient of the pacer locally. She said the surgery went well and is now waiting for Ramsdale to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility.

Now, his family is planning for his recovery. A need addition to their house may be necessary, she said.

“When rehab starts, then he can start looking to see what we have to look forward to. What we have to do to accommodate him. And we’ll find a way to accommodate him,” Ramsdale said. 

As far as his ability to communicate, a large tracheal tube has made it difficult for him to speak. Ramsdale said he mouths ‘I love you’ and ‘I miss you’ during their FaceTime calls. She said it does get frustrating for him at times.

“He makes some smart comments,” she said. “Which is good, because we are getting more emotions than just sadness.”

The family hopes he can get a smaller tube inserted as he moves into recovery, which will ultimately help him speak.

One of Ramsdale’s best friends, Ian Washam, was with him on the night of the shooting.

“I have my moments where the whole situation still replays through my head,” he said.

Washam said it’s been difficult not being able to visit the hospital due to COVID-19 restrictions. In fact, no one outside of Ramsdale’s father Bill has been able to see him in person. 

“I don’t know what the rehabilitation center will look like for COVID-19 restrictions, but I hope to be able to see him,” he said.  

Wendy said she is hoping that family members could trade off who visits in the rehabilitation center.

As for Washam’s feelings about the downtown district, he says he hopes the community can move forward. 

“I just want to see real change happen here because the Quad Cities are beautiful. Rock Island is beautiful, and I just want to see it be better,” he said. 

A link to the family’s GoFundMe can be found here.

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