Eight months after being left a quadriplegic in a New Orleans attack, Doug David has returned to La Jolla, his home of 40 years.
David will spend about a week at the La Jolla Veterans Administration Spinal Care Institute, where he will receive intensive physical therapy and be provided an electronic wheelchair, friends say.
“He will get great rehab and a new wheelchair — a motorized one will be custom fitted for him,” said Cathy Carey, a longtime friend. “He will get a new mattress if needed, a cushion for the wheelchair, and all will be free of charge, with no co-pay as he has been classified as catastrophically disabled.”
David, 65, who qualifies for VA assistance because he served in the Army in the 1970s, was attacked in New Orleans on Oct. 15, 2015.
Christopher Smith, 31, has been charged with second-degree battery. He doesn’t dispute hitting David, breaking his neck, but claims it was self-defense. The case returns to court June 17 for pretrial motions.
- Original story: La Jollan Beaten, Paralyzed in New Orleans Amid Police Paralysis
David’s C3 and C4 vertebrae were broken in the assault. He was flown by air ambulance to California and received care in a series of hospitals and rehabilitation centers until moving in late March to a board and care home in Escondido.
He is completely dependent on others to keep him alive, friends say. He can move his arms a bit but has no control over his fingers, can’t feed himself.
A Give Forward online campaign has raised more than $29,000.
Friends of David also created a Facebook page called Justice for Doug David where they regularly post updates.
Diane Jones, a friend of David’s, recently met with two assistant district attorneys at the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office. With Alicia Foulds, David’s niece, on the phone, they had a wide-ranging discussion about the case. Jones said she was moved by the dedication of the DA staff.
“I could see in all their faces as they told me how passionately sorry they are about what happened to Doug in their city,” she said. “They promise to do all they can so that justice will be served.”
During her visit to New Orleans, Jones delivered special Justice for Doug David wristbands to the DA’s office as well as musicians on Frenchmen Street. The longtime New Orleans music tourist was injured at Decatur and Frenchmen streets near the French Quarter.
Because of his health, David will not attend court hearings on this case, friends said.
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