Local News

Newborn delivered after fatal wreck not improving, family says

Posted September 10, 2012 5:23 p.m. EDT
Updated September 12, 2012 1:54 p.m. EDT

— Family members of a baby boy on life support said Monday that he's not improving and that they will have to make tough decisions soon about whether to keep him alive.

Doctors say 8-day-old Will Riggans' brain function is minimal after he was deprived in-utero of oxygen last Sunday night in a wreck that killed his mother and severely injured his father. The infant also suffered blunt force head trauma.

Casey Riggans and his wife, Megan, both 22, were on their way to UNC Hospitals from their Burlington home to give birth when their car hydroplaned on a wet road and hit a tree.

Megan Riggans died, and doctors delivered Will. His family says he has not opened his eyes, cried or been able to move his arms and legs.

Doctors have tried a variety of different therapies, but Will's condition has not changed, said Megan Riggans' uncle, Randy Lewis.

"If it does turn out that he does not survive, I mean, the way we look at it is that it's a win-win situation," Lewis said. "If he stays here, we get him. If he can't, his momma and his granddaddy get him. So, that's the way we're looking at it here."

To complicate matters, the infant was born with a condition called gastroschisis, in which the intestines stick out of the abdomen because of an umbilical cord defect.

Lewis said that Casey Riggans, who had surgery for a fractured skull and broken jaw, was able to hold his son for the first time Sunday.

"I can say it was a miracle just to have him this long. We were able to touch him and feel him. Some people have been able to hold him," Lewis said. "For us, that's a miracle in itself.

He added that the family is appreciative of an overwhelming outpouring of community support and the efforts of doctors, nurses, paramedics and first responders to save Megan Riggans and the baby.

"There's been a tremendous outpouring of sympathy, compassion, concern, prayer and donations to try and help us through this god awful mess," Lewis said.

The family has set up a fund to help with medical expenses and care. Donations can be made by at any BB&T bank branch to the Brian Casey Riggans Trust. Donations also may be mailed to the Brian Casey Riggans Trust, BB&T, P.O. Box 749, Siler City, N.C. 27344.

They also hope to set up a scholarship fund in Megan Riggans' name. Funeral arrangements for her have not been finalized.