July 24: 'Amazing Abigail' inspires D.C. to act

  • Article by: MAURA LERNER and JAKE SHERMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 15, 2007 - 10:27 PM

The girl, 6, is improving from a serious injury and thrilled her story may help others, her parents say.

Kathryn, Scott Taylor
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Kathryn and Scott Taylor said their daughter, Abigail, is in very good spirits and they hope to take her home later this week.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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Kathryn Taylor began to sing to her daughter Abigail at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis on Monday morning, as U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar looked on.

It was a little song called "How a bill becomes a law."

What better way to explain to a 6-year-old how her own misfortune could end up changing the law of the land?

Three weeks after a devastating injury at a wading pool, Abigail is now eating ice chips and hoping to go home to Edina sometime this week.

At the same time, her accident has galvanized support for a pool safety bill that had, until now, been stalled in Congress. That's why Klobuchar, one of the Senate sponsors, joined the girl's parents at a hospital news conference Monday and thanked them for going public with their story. All three wore bracelets that said "Amazing Abigail."The courage of this family, the courage of little Abigail, was an inspiration for change in Washington," Klobuchar said.

Abigail, who lost her small intestine in the accident, was upgraded from serious to fair condition Monday. Her parents said that despite everything, her spirits remain high.

"She's handled it better than I'm sure any adult would," said her mother. "She's handled it with the ease of a child."

Abigail had been playing in a wading pool June 29 at the Minneapolis Golf Club in St. Louis Park when she became trapped by the suction of an uncovered pool drain, the family said. The force apparently ruptured her rectum and pulled out her small intestine.

Another operation soon

Abigail has had at least two operations since then and will need another in September, her parents said. She's on a feeding tube 18 hours a day because she can no longer absorb nutrients, her mother said.

When she's not tethered to a feeding tube, Abigail is up and walking around, said her father, Scott Taylor. He said she's even wearing nail polish.

"You would think she's a normal little skinny 6-year-old," he said. "You can't believe this little girl has basically had her intestines ripped from her body and that the rest of her life is going to be seriously affected by this."

At home, she'll need nursing help "for a while," her father said, but she is expected to return to school in September. The family may not know what the future holds, he added, but "we're all planning on dancing with her at her wedding."

He said that Abigail, the second of four daughters, and the rest of his family are "thrilled" that her story has drawn attention to the dangers of pool drains and that it has inspired action in Congress.

The legislation would create new safety standards for pools and pool drains, and provide incentives for states to adopt their own safety laws. The bill, introduced last year, lost on a last-minute vote in December. It was reintroduced this year and took on new urgency after Abigail's accident made national headlines.

Congress taking action

Klobuchar was one of several members of the Minnesota delegation to sign on as a cosponsor. She also inserted an amendment in the Senate bill to require all public pools to install "anti-entrapment" drain covers within a year.

The bill glided through committee last week and a full Senate vote could come before the August recess, Klobuchar said.

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Kathryn, Scott Taylor