July 25, 2002
There's good news in the local community: Centreville's Ashley Dubey is home from the hospital. The Crofton Commons resident was able to celebrate her 6th birthday, Wednesday, July 24, in her very own home with her family.
For Ashley, it was a long road back — and she still has a ways to go. She's been hospitalized, the past 2 1/2 months, since being struck May 2 by a hit-and-run driver on Old Centreville Road while waiting for the schoolbus to take her to Bull Run Elementary.
"I can't believe she's home," said her mother, Seema Dubey, who witnessed the accident. "I still have nightmares."
The man Fairfax County police charged with felony hit-and-run, Duane Thompson, 38, of Manassas, was indicted last week by the grand jury and will go on trial in September. As for Ashley, she sustained a severe head injury, affecting her speech and vision, plus movement on her right side.
She had five brain surgeries at Inova Fairfax Hospital and then received therapy at Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center in Charlottesville. She was finally discharged on Friday, but will continue to need treatment — especially for her eyesight.
"Her vision is still not 100 percent," said Dubey. "She's seeing double and, if something comes up to her face quickly, she can't protect herself against it. And she may have to attend a special school because she'll need one-on-one attention."
Dubey said her daughter's speech is all right now, but her memory is "still faded." And, although she's able to move around on her own, she "needs lots of supervision so she doesn't fall down." In addition, because of the permanent shunt doctors placed in her brain, this lively little girl can't set foot on a playground unless she wears a helmet. Said Dubey: "The doctors say it'll probably be that way for six months to a year."
In addition, Ashley — who was already thin and a picky eater before the accident — lost some 25 pounds in the hospital. Although she gained a few back, her mother is now doing her best to get her to eat some nourishing food so she can regain her strength.
Meanwhile, the bills are mounting and, although insurance will cover some of it, there'll still be a big gap. "I got a bill for $208,000 for the ICU [Intensive Care Unit at Inova Fairfax] — and that's not including her surgeries," said Dubey. "I also got another bill from the hospital for $40,000, and I haven't gotten any bills yet from the rehabilitation hospital."
Add all that to the family's normal expenses (food, rent, utilities, etc.), plus car-insurance renewals that just arrived in the mail, and the Dubeys could definitely use some help. A bank account to help with Ashley's medical bills has been established. Contributions, payable to Harsh and Dubey, may be sent to: Bank of America, 14122 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA 20120.
For now, though, the most important thing to Ashley's mother, father Hemant and their 2-year-old son Himanshu is that Ashley has returned to them. "It feels great," said Dubey. "It's such a nice feeling to have her home."