Doctors remove plate from Kalamazoo shooting survivor’s skull due to infection

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An infection caused a setback for the 14-year-old survivor of the February Kalamazoo-area shooting spree.

The plastic plate in Abigail Kopf’s skull had to be removed Monday due to a MRSA infection deep in one of her incisions.

“I’ll be fine, Mom,” Abbie assured her mother before the surgery.

“I know you will,” her mother, Vickie Kopf, replied. “Because you’re a warrior…”

“…Princess,” Abbie finished.

Doctors had to remove part of Abbie’s skull after she was shot in the head. They replaced it with the plastic plate last month. This looked pretty good at first, but then the infection developed and doctors decided the plate needed to come out.

“Not what I was hoping for, but like I said, it’s a setback,” Dr. Gregory Wiggins of Bronson Methodist Hospital said Monday. “I don’t think it’s a devastating setback. It may be a social setback, especially for a 14-year-old.”

Abbie Kopf, Kalamazoo shooting rampage
Abbie Kopf after surgery on June 13, 2016.

It will be six to 12 weeks before doctors try to put in a new plate. In the interim, Abbie will have to wear a helmet to protect her brain.

The good news is that the infection is not affecting her brain.

“It’s not a neurologic setback, which is great. As much as anything, it’s a cosmetic setback,” Wiggins said.

Though it first looked like she wouldn’t make it, the Battle Creek teen has made tremendous progress since the shooting. She relearned how to talk and walk and left rehab after only two months. However, she has battled migraines, and the wound to her brain affected her behavior and personality. The infection is her greatest stumbling block to date.

“We are back to square one,” a Monday post on the Facebook page documenting her recovery.

Abbie is among two survivors of the Feb. 20 shooting rampage in the Kalamazoo area that left six people dead.

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