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Girl injured by lawn mower recovering after ninth surgery

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Published:   |   Updated: August 15, 2013 at 12:56 PM

TAMPA — Ireland Nugent, the Palm Harbor toddler whose legs were severed in a lawn mower accident outside her family’s home in April, underwent her ninth surgery today.

Surgeons at Tampa General Hospital shaved the bone in one of her legs to make the prosthetics fit better and repaired a bone spur on the other, said Ireland’s doctor, Daniel Chan.

Two-year-old Ireland will have to go through several more of these procedures during childhood, because her bones will continue to grow and likely produce more spurs that have to be removed, he said.

“Amputations in pediatric patients is challenging,” Chan said. “Bone grows. She’s 2. We grow like crazy at 2. It slows down with age.”

Ireland’s father said the family is prepared for the toddler’s future surgeries.

“We’re just hoping it would be longer stints in between,” Jerry Nugent said. “My stomach was in a knot today. But I just thank God she’s alive.”

Ireland’s legs were severed below the knees April 11 when her father accidently backed a riding mower over her.

Nugent was driving a riding lawn mower up the family’s driveway on Hollow Ridge Road. Ireland slipped out of a backyard enclosure and ran behind him, witnesses said. Nicole Nugent motioned for her husband to stop, but he misinterpreted and backed up the mower, running over the child.

In the weeks following the accident, the toddler underwent seven surgeries at Tampa General. Thursday’s procedure took about an hour and a half.

Nugent said Ireland gave no indication prior to her most recent surgery that she was in pain or that the bone spurs were giving her discomfort.

“She didn’t like it being touched and she didn’t like to wear her prosthetic legs either,” Nugent said. “She was being a typical 2-year-old.”

Ireland, who turns 3 on Tuesday, was doing well in recovery, Nugent said.

“Ireland’s surgery was successful,” her mother, Nicole, posted on Facebook. “Just got back to see her and she is resting comfortably.”

TBO.com producer Carl Lisciandrello contributed to this report.

reyes@tampatrib.com

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