Positive signs as Natasha emerges from coma

May 11, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

The family of Natasha McShane say they are greatly heartened by recent developments in her recovery.

Natasha has emerged from her drug-induced coma and has been taken off the ventilator.  Last week doctors gradually reduced the medication that was keeping her sedated.  Since then, the anaesthetic has been completely withdrawn and Natasha is showing slight but positive responses to basic commands, her grandmother, Bernadette McShane, said.

“She is off the ventilator and is breathing on her own, just with the help of oxygen,” Bernadette explained.

“It’s very hard to tell with a brain injury, but the doctors and her family are remaining hopeful that she’ll show more positive signs.”

Bernadette says the family is increasingly hopeful that Natasha’s condition will continue to improve.

“Everyday we are just sitting here hoping and praying that we will get another wee bit of good news.  I just look forward to the day when I hear she can recognise anybody or move her legs,” she added.

It is expected that Natasha will begin an intensive rehabilitation programme in the coming weeks, although her road to recovery is likely to be slow and arduous.


Natasha and her American friend, Stacy Jurich, were attacked by a man wielding a baseball bat while walking home from a bar in the Bucktown area of Chicago almost three weeks ago.  Both girls were struck repeatedly on the head however Natasha bore the brunt of the indiscriminate attack.  She suffered severe head injuries and has since undergone a number of operations to relieve pressure on her brain.

Her parents, Liam and Sheila, have maintained a vigil by her bedside since the attack.  Other family members have also travelled to Chicago to offer their support.  Natasha’s sister Carla returned home at the weekend and her brother Conor is to travel there next week. A number of Natasha’s aunts and friends have also made the journey to spend time with her.

Special Mass

The McShane family say they are indebted to everyone who has offered prayers and good wishes for Natasha’s recovery, adding that they are overwhelmed by the level of generosity and support they have received.

A special Mass will be offered up in the Oratory at St. Brigid’s Shrine, Faughart tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at 7.30pm.

And on Monday last, hundreds attended a special Mass in St. Brigid’s Church in Glassdrummond to pray for her recovery and offer support to the McShane family.

Fr Barney King, who celebrated the Mass, said the large congregation was an indication of the very strong faith held by people in the area.

“They believe in prayer.  It’s an expression of our faith and our solidarity with the family,” he said, adding that the service gave people an opportunity to show their support to the family.

Bernadette McShane said the community support is very comforting for the family.

“I am absolutely overwhelmed. The support of the local community is marvellous. But that is the people round here – they are lovely,” she said.


The McShane family thank those involved and extend grateful appreciation to everyone who made donations to the collection held in Crossmaglen on May 2nd.

The total amount raised was £1,000 and €1,100 and will help ensure that Natasha continues to receive the best possible medical care, the family said.

Dozens of fundraisers are being organised at home and in America by members of the community keen to show their support to the McShane family and raise funds towards Natasha’s continuing medical care.

Later this month, a number of Natasha’s friends are organising a ‘Lorry Pull’ from Fords Cross to The Kabin, Creggan.  This event is scheduled to take place on Saturday 29th May and all are welcome to get involved.

Meanwhile, the bar from where Natasha and Stacy had been returning when they were attacked hosted a fundraising night on Saturday.   And a retired Chicago sheriff is also organising a benefit night to raise money towards Natasha’s medical expenses.  This event is scheduled to take place in the city on June 4th.

At home, a fundraising event will be held in Silverbridge GFC in early June.  Currently in the planning stages, more details will be made available in the coming weeks.

McShane Family Notice

The parents, grandparents and family of Natasha McShane would most sincerely like to thank everyone who has been praying for her and enquiring about Natasha over the past two weeks.

Thanks to everyone who attended and helped out at the special Mass in St. Brigid’s Church on Monday night.  To those of you who phone or called to the house or who sent Mass Bouquets for Natasha.

Thanks to Cardinal Brady, Fr. King, Fr. McKeever and Fr. McKinney for your support at this time and calling at the house.

As a family we are truely overwhelmed by the support and generosity shown to us by the whole community and further afield.

Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation is extended out to you all and ask that you keep Natasha in your thoughts and prayers throughout her recovery.