Toddler in '07 Jackson shootings beats doctors' expectations

Sunday, December 21, 2008
Meghan Moshiri

About eight weeks after Meghan Moshiri was shot in the head, doctors told her mother that her daughter probably wouldn't see, hear, speak or walk again.

"They kept telling me what wasn't going to work," Katherine Moshiri said Friday. "I finally looked at them and said, 'Well, what is going to work?'"

Before the doctors could answer, Meghan shouted, "Teamwork!"

She was remembering a song her big sister Madison Moshiri used to sing.

More than a year has passed since Katherine Moshiri's husband, Mir Shahin "Shawn" Moshiri, shot her four times. While the Jackson woman, bleeding profusely, fled to summon help, her husband shot Meghan, killed 4-year-old Madison and shot Katherine's 16-year-old son, Michael Jeffers, before taking his own life. Jeffers died the following day.

As early as two weeks after the Dec. 3, 2007, shooting, Meghan, then 2, began responding to treatment faster than doctors believed she would, showing every inch of the stubborn streak and iron will her mother says she possesses.

The bullet entered through Meghan's left eye, cutting a straight line through her brain and rendering her blind and deaf on that side. But Katherine Moshiri says even before doctors realized, she was convinced her daughter was going to see and hear.

Now, 14 surgeries and more than $2 million in medical bills later, Meghan's locks cover the surgical scars. Her wide eyes are hazel, but the left one is a prosthetic hand-painted to match her natural eye color.

The two have a tight bond, and Katherine Moshiri says she always knew her daughter would survive the ordeal.

"I wiped away my tears and focused on her," Katherine Moshiri said.

Not only have partial hearing and vision returned on the right side, but Meghan, who turned 3 in September, has no trouble communicating. Her speech skills are on par with any 3-year-old, though occasionally she will mix up words.

Meghan will often say "I need to hold Mommy" when she wants to be held, Katherine said.

Early on in her treatment, Meghan suffered a stroke because of her injuries and is slowly recovering the use of the right side of her body.

In all, she spent three months in the hospital.

Because of a medical complication, her jaw was locked in place at first. A St. Louis oral surgeon who specializes in pediatric care has been treating her for free.

She walks, but in teetering steps with her mother holding her hands for support. Katherine expects her to be able to walk unaided within the next few months.

"She's a problem solver. She's happy most of the time," Katherine said.

Meghan has already learned to compensate for the lack of use of her right hand, often using her left foot instead to aid her in holding a picture book, and she gets around the house on a battery-operated riding toy or by scooting along on her bottom.

"My biggest concern is for her to feel safe and happy," Katherine said. "She can count on me 100 percent, and she needs that."

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

388-3635

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