Uptown shooting victim seeking hyperbaric treatment



Posted on December 3, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 5 at 3:16 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Grace Kaynor is the wife of a shooting victim who is now speaking about a desperate situation following a violent crime.

"I went to sleep and the next thing I knew the police were in my bedroom saying, 'Ma'am, you have to wake up. Your husband's been shot and he's in the driveway,'" she said.

It was the night of Oct. 2, when a father went out to his car to get something for his special-needs daughter. That's when a neighbor heard two gunshots and a man shouting "No."

The men then went in the house and stole several things, even out of the daughter's hands.

There have been no arrests in the case.

The headline news coverage is over, but a family is still struggling. In some ways, the real pain is just beginning.

"I said, 'It's all going to be OK, Sandy.' And he said, 'No, it's never going to be OK. I can't feel my legs, Grace,'" Grace Kaynor said.

That was two months ago. Today, Grace is fighting for her husband, who is running out of time to heal.

Still in a hospital, he lost some of his organs. Two bullets destroyed them and severed his spinal cord. He's beat a near fatal infection and pneumonia, clinically died on the operating table, his brain deprived of oxygen. This brilliant lawyer and musician, who received academic and athletic honors at Yale, is now unresponsive.

Insurance says it's time for a nursing home.

"I don't feel that my husband should have to suffer because he was shot in our driveway. He is a completely innocent victim in all of this," said Grace through tears.

Grace wants Sandy to have hyperbaric oxygen treatments to heal his brain. Their 8-year-old Phoebe has cerebral palsy. Ninety dives, or treatments, in the hyperbaric chamber changed her.

"The first time Dr. Harch interviewed Phoebe, she could not even climb up on the examining table. Now she is writing. She is thriving. She's reading. She's doing things I never thought she'd be able to do," explained Grace, who said that Phoebe is winning awards riding horses for therapy.

Dr. Paul Harch is the head of hyperbaric medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center.

Sandy only got 12 oxygen treatments, and new cell phone video shows he now responds to commands, like moving his hands.

"Now he is able to make eye contact, good eye contact. He is able to move his hands on command as of this weekend for close family members. He generally looks in better health and he looks more awake and alive," said Grace.

To see noticeable brain changes, Dr. Harch does a minimum of 40 treatments. But the clock runs out Tuesday. Insurance, and some doctors, don't believe in hyperbaric oxygen for the brain. It is used off-label for brain damage. Hospital coverage, where the oxygen chambers are, will stop.

Grace is now scrambling to file an appeal and to find a facility that will simulate him to heal. That may be in another state.

Sandy has turned the lives of at-risk youths around through Big Brothers Big Sisters and the AmeriCorps program City Year. The Connecticut transplant believed in rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now his teen son feels his daddy is slipping away.

"He's scared. We're all scared. I'm scared for my husband because we had a beautiful life together. He's my best friend," said Grace as she cried.

If you want to help with Sandy Kaynor's life-long medical costs, you can go to any Iberia Bank and make a donation. Click here to find the nearest location, and click here to donate through Paypal.