[July 20th, 2007] 2:30am
On Wednesday I went to the arraignment, along with many friends and family of Zach, at a Baltimore courthouse downtown. It was in a small, hot, uncomfortable room. Two groups were seated as spectators; Zach’s friends & family, and the friends and family of the children who attacked Zach. I say children because two of the boys don’t look a day over 14, and all of them acted indifferent to the seriousness of the charges.

The four boys walked into the courthouse around 11:00am, in chains and handcuffs. Trayvon Ramos sports an arrogant grin to his family as he enters, and all show no signs of remorse. In fact I see Trayvon glance back and laugh at a family member who says something to Trayvon, inaudible to me though because I’m too far away.

The judge starts to speak, citing that each one is charged for premeditated attempt of 1st degree murder, and asks for their plea. Each lawyer, speaking on behalf of these children, pleads “not guilty” to the charges. Clearly they ARE guilty of the crime, but in order for a trial by jury they must follow this procedure during the arraignment. The prosecutor then agrees on a date of October 15th for the trial, and they all must sign some document. They are handcuffed again, and are lead out the courthouse door. I notice two smiling and acknowledging their friends or family. I hope that they get the laughter and smiles out of their system now, because in a few months it will be no laughing matter in prison.

Clearly these children are not the least bit sorry for their actions, and what’s more disturbing, it seems the friends and parents believe this is not a serious matter. Do they think it’s ok to laugh and make jokes during an attempted murder arraignment with Zach’s wife, family and friends in the room?

By the time I left the courthouse I was fuming. The only comfort was thinking ahead to when they will all face a jury of people who will hear what happened to Zach and how those actions changed many lives that night. I pray the sentencing is as callous and uncompassionate as the four teens were, and still appear to be, toward Zach.

Anna wants to thank all the people who came to the arraignment in support, as this was not an easy thing to sit through and watch the people responsible for this life changing, malicious crime.
[July 17th, 2007] 2:15pm
"What's going on? Where the hell are the updates!?" Sorry, I took a short trip and didn't have access to a computer, but I'm back and ready to report!

First some great news that Anna just sent to me in a txt message. She wrote and said Zach’s toes are looking so much better! That’s a real blessing and I’m so excited to read that.

Last Friday Zach was transferred back to Hopkins to the ICU, where he was greeted by all the wonderful doctors and nurses that have gotten to know Zach so well. There were also quite a few out of town visitors, including his sister and good friends Bryan and Jason. It was great to see you guys and know that Zach could hear you giving him encouragement.

When Zach got to Hopkins his eyes were wide open and Nurse Katy said he seemed very alert. When Anna and Ashley got there his eyes were closed, but opened once they started to rub his arm and started talking to him. He would repeat this all day when his name was called very loudly, which is very encouraging!

Besides looking a little puffy from all the fluids, he looks great! Randy from Simas Salon came in and gave him a nice styled hair cut for free, so no more half mullet thing going on. Thanks Randy! He has been given medication to flush all the fluids out himself. Doctor's still are puzzled as to why he was sick, but said he falls in the 5-10% of people that get sepsis without knowing the exact cause. His white blood cell count was a little high, which indicates some type of infection somewhere, but so far all tests have returned negative. Hopefully the body is working out the infection on its own.

His stomach and head CAT scan showed nothing abnormal. Doctors might go into his lung with a scope to see what's going on since that seems to be the only reason for the increased white blood cell count. So good news all around for Zach, and he will stay in the ICU at Hopkins until they are sure his vitals are back to normal and there is no sign of any possible infection.

Tomorrow is the arraignment for Zach's attackers. This will be a short process and is not the actual trial. Unfortunately it's scheduled for 9:30am, along with all the other arraignments, so it may be early, or may be later in the day.

Anna was interviewed by ABC 2 News and WJZ. Go watch the interview here. They also talk about the Neighbors' Night Out, and the list of participating restaurants and bars is now up and being updated daily.

Sorry again for the long delay with the updates, Anna said I can't go away again without making sure I have a solid internet connection! Thanks again for everyone's love and support.
[July 12th, 2007] 9:15pm
The good news is that Zach was weaned off all his pressers and he is very stable. All vitals are back where they should be, which is very encouraging. His left lung looks a lot better because they performed a procedure that drained out quite a bit of fluid. Also, all of his cultures came back negative, which means he doesn't have any sort of bacterial infection (at least not yet). So, he has problems internally somewhere.

Doctors gave Zach a HIDA scan done today to follow up from the belly CT yesterday. The belly CT showed possible inflammation of the gallbladder but they wanted to confirm that with the HIDA scan. Doctors still don't know what is wrong with his gallbladder, if there is even something wrong. We basically don't know why he is even sick. The team is still trying to isolate the cause. He was also given two more units of blood today. So, clinically, he is doing better.

The neurologist came by today to check out Zach because his lower lips quiver a lot. He's going to report back if there is any seizure activity, but suspects it's from being sick. Also there are some cuts on his lips, and the infectious disease doctors will be by tomorrow to make sure all the open cuts are OK and not a sign of anything bad.

The scary news is that his toes are starting to turn black and blue because his circulation isn't good and they think he developed a condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), where your body kind of bleeds and clots at the same time. The vascular surgeons said there is nothing they can do because he still has a pulse in both feet so Podiatry needs to keep an eye on his feet. The vascular surgeon did say that although they look very bad, there is still a chance that his blood flow can get better, thus his toes will get better as well.

The pressers, blood pressure medicine that keeps pressure up, are thought to be the cause of his toes not getting enough blood. Pressers cause the vessels to constrict which increases blood pressure but with the toes being so far from his heart and his vessels so constricted, his toes lost some blood flow.

Kim, Zach's mom, is asking for a special request - that everyone continue to pray for Zach's health as well as pray for his toes since the surgeon told us not to lose hope in his toes getting better.
[July 11th, 2007] 11:00am
Zach has gotten a little bit better from when he was first brought to Sinai's ER on Sunday night. His kidneys are working and he is having normal urine output (this is great!!). The urologist thinks his infection, or one of his infections, may be in his urinary tract. He had a blood transfusion two nights ago that brought his blood levels back up to normal (this is great as well!!). He was supposed to get a colonoscopy yesterday morning but as they were prepping him, he started vomiting and aspirated.

I seems like the internal bleeding in his intestinal tract may have gotten better because there is almost no blood coming out of him so he doesn't need another blood transfusion today.

Doctors weren't able to wean him off one of his pressers (medicine that increases his blood pressure) and they ended up changing him to two different pressers yesterday. Getting him off the pressers is the most important issue right now. The good news is that they were able to lower one of his pressers a little bit throughout the day yesterday and he is now only on two pressers instead of three.

He did have a little bit of a temperature yesterday so they are giving him Tylenol and a cooling blanket. So, he is still very sick and not yet stable but he is improving. Doctors are still waiting for the cultures to see exactly what infection Zach may have. The doctors, nurses and techs have been great at Sinai!

The family would like to keep visiting Zach to family only. There is a much smaller window for visiting hours at Sinai, and he is still very sick. They still are so appreciative and thankful for everyone's thoughts and prayers during this serious setback that Zach will undoubtedly overcome.
[July 9th, 2007] 6:30am
Zach was taken to the emergency room at Mt. Sinai Hospital yesterday evening around 10:30pm. Everything seemed fine the other day, but yesterday he was coughing a lot and started vomiting. Doctors at Kernan have him some medicine and he appeared to stabilize, but started to vomit again, this time more severely. They immediately took him to the ER at Mt. Sinai Hospital where he was given some antibiotics and other medication. His blood pressure started to decrease, but he had a fever and his heart rate was above normal.

Doctors said he had pneumonia again (which may be lingering from before), and he was very sick, possibly having multiple internal infections. They were running blood tests last night and should know more today about what's going on with his vitals and any infections he may have.

As soon as I hear from Anna I will update everyone with Zach's status. This is terribly upsetting after he has been making so much progress and getting so healthy. I hope that this is just a reaction to moving to a new facility and that these possible infections are minor.

Here's a link to Sinai Hospital.
[July 9th, 2007] 10:00pm
Right now Zach is still in the ICU at Sinai. His vital signs aren't very good, and he is considered in critical condition again. That means his blood pressure is below normal and he is on a lot of blood pressure medication to keep him in a stable range. His renal function is worsening a little and his heart rate is increased. He's also got a fever which is probably from some sort of infection.

Doctors are taking pan-cultures and started him on a broad spectrum antibiotic for sepsis. They just need to see how he improves and wait for the results of the cultures. Zach has some fluid in the left side of his lungs, which may be new pneumonia, residuals from the last pneumonia, or simply just some fluid. They are going to do CAT of his lungs and stomach to find out more.

Also, Zach is on full vent support while he's in critical condition. This is a precaution and it's best for the machine to do the work while his body is focused healing.

I wish I had better news; hopefully the pan-cultures can identify the problem and a simple antibiotic can be given to Zach to heal quickly. Zach, you've come so far and I know you're fighting!
[July 8th, 2007] 1:00pm
Zach was transferred to Kernan Rehab Hospital on Friday. He seemed a bit more active but nothing as exciting as Monday when he was squeezing Anna's hand, stuck out his tongue and moved his thumb. He moves around and opens his eyes a bit but we still have to keep hoping and being positive that he will start emerging from his coma.

Kernan is a wonderful, very well known Hospital for their rehab and we are confident that Zach will do well there. We look forward to Zach getting good physical therapy and occupational therapy while at Kernan. At Hopkins they were more focused on getting him healthy, now Kernan can focus on waking him up! Also Zach will be able to see his dog Mia at Kernan.

Anna wrote me and said, "I have gotten so many cards from friends, family and even people that don't personally know Zach or me. The support continues to be amazing, which is just unbelievable. I am so thankful for all of the cards, prayers, donations and positive thoughts from everyone. We need it all!"