Community rallies in support of Laci and Rick Daugherty as they recover from injuries

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A Switzerland County High School senior who was critically injured last week continues to fight for a return to health in a Cincinnati hospital – and her struggle has been the focus of all of Switzerland County and other parts of the country.

Laci Daugherty remains in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit at the University of Cincinnati Hospital after she was involved in a one car accident on Monday afternoon, August 4th, on State Road 156 near Plum Creek Road.

Her father, Rick Daugherty, was also injured in the accident. He continues to recover, and on Tuesday of this week he was transferred from University of Cincinnati Hospital to Drake Rehabilitation Hospital in Cincinnati.

Specialists have been closely monitoring Laci Daugherty’s condition, with her latest challenge being an increasing pressure on her brain inside her skull. On Monday night surgeons performed an operation to remove two pieces of her skull in order to relieve the pressure; and after Laci Daugherty had an allergic reaction to the medication, a second surgery was also necessary to allow the pressure to recede.

Her fight has become the focus of this entire community; as waiting rooms at the hospital were filled and overflowing with well wishers, classmates, and friends and family members. A website was also established in order to provide the community with up-to-date information on the condition of both Laci and Rick Daugherty; and that website also allows visitors to share their thoughts and prayers for the family.

As of Wednesday morning, there had been nearly 7,000 visits to the site; with people leaving pages and pages of prayers and thoughts.

In an effort to allow residents to access the site as easily as possible, Vevay Newspapers has provided a direct link to the site through its website. To access the site, go to www.vevaynewspapers.com; and at the top of the page is a picture of Laci Daugherty. Those who click on her photo will be taken directly to the site.

Efforts are being made to update the site as soon as new information is known; so people all around the region have been keeping abreast of the latest information throughout the day.

Many stores around the area have posted get well wishes on their outside signs; and the high school computerized sign has also been flashing get well messages. Pink ribbons in honor of Laci are also popping up tied to car antennas; and some high school students have also painting messages on their vehicles.

Efforts to raise funds to help with expenses are also underway. Donation buckets are being placed on counters in stores around the area; and other fundraisers, including a golf tournament, are also in the planning stages.

A special prayer vigil will be held for the Daugherty family next Friday evening, August 22nd, at 9:15 p.m. at the Switzerland County Courthouse. The community is invited to attend.

Laci and Rick Daugherty were injured when the vehicle that was carrying them lost control and struck a tree just east of Vevay. The vehicle went down into a ditch, and Switzerland County Emergency workers were quickly on the scene. Laci Daugherty was airlifted to University Hospital from the scene of the accident; and Rick Daugherty was initially transported by ambulance to The King’s Daughters’ Hospital in Madison; and was then airlifted to University Hospital in Cincinnati.

Wayne Daugherty, Laci’s grandfather and Rick’s father, said that the family got some good news on Wednesday morning, as the pressure in Laci’s head had decreased to 15. He also said that the medical staff had rolled her on her side, and when they did her body did not react adversely – a good sign. Doctors also reduced her blood pressure medicine; and although she was still having a fever, it had dropped to 99 by mid morning and doctors were encouraged.

“We’re still in the woods,” Wayne Daugherty said, “But there are better signs.”

He also said that the family has been blessed by the outpouring of support from the community.

“All of the good things that people have done for us is unbelievable,” he said. “The food. The visits. The phone calls. Everything that people have done has just been unbelievable. The financial support has been overwhelming, and the family truly appreciates everything that people have been doing for us. We want people to know that we enjoy hearing from them, and that we appreciate all of the prayers that have been said for Laci and Rick. We appreciate everything that’s been done.”