Amtrak conductor recovering 'extremely well' from Naperville shooting
With a positive attitude and the nearly constant presence of family, the Amtrak conductor shot and wounded May 16 on a train platform in Naperville continues his progress toward a full recovery, his wife and doctor said Monday.
Michael Case, 45, of Homewood, could be ready to leave Edward Hospital in Naperville in about two weeks if all goes well, said Dr. David Piazza, medical director of trauma surgery.
He wouldn't be headed home, but to a rehabilitation facility for at least six to eight weeks. But he's made several steps in the right direction since a bullet struck him in the abdomen on a Tuesday afternoon more than a month ago.
"He has responded to all our treatments extremely well," Piazza said. "He's getting close to the point where he can get to rehab."
Case, a 10-year Amtrak employee, Navy veteran and former private schoolteacher, is awake and alert, drinking clear liquids to augment tube feedings and beginning to walk, Piazza said.
Case's condition is considered serious but stable, meaning his recovery is on the right track but an infection or blood clot could set him back.
Case's wife of nine years, Sara Case, said the family spent a happy, emotional Father's Day in the hospital with her son, Alexander, and his son, Dylan, although their two daughters were unable to make it.
"I'm happy that I get to be with him every day," she said, "and obviously that he's here."
She said the family is not closely following the court proceedings against the man accused of shooting Case, 79-year-old Edward Klein of West Allis, Wisconsin. Klein has been ordered to undergo a mental fitness evaluation while he faces charges of aggravated battery and attempted murder.
Instead, the Cases are focusing on the positives, including nearly $30,000 donated by friends and strangers to four GoFundMe pages to help with medical expenses and the amount of time relatives spend by his side.
"I don't like him to be here by himself," she said.
Although Case is no longer in the intensive care unit, Piazza said he continues to receive a high level of nursing care and frequent check-ins from doctors.
He's recovering from wounds to the pancreas and a region of the intestines called the duodenum, in a critical area where fluids from the stomach, liver and pancreas converge.
Case's first surgery, which lasted nearly seven hours immediately after he was shot, reconnected the organs. His second surgery, which doctors called a "car wash," cleaned out the surgically repaired areas and ensured proper drainage of fluids.
Piazza said doctors will continue to monitor drainage while Case is in the hospital and when he moves to a rehabilitation facility. The goal is to get Case back to work.
His wife said he's looking forward to getting back on the job, and to eating pizza again and traveling to New Orleans to celebrate their anniversary next year.
After rehabilitation, Case should be cleared to return to work. But another six to nine months after that, Piazza said he could require one last surgery.
"On the medical side, he's where we want him to be," Piazza said. "He and his family are holding up spectacularly."