Outlook grim for Ottawa woman attacked in Barbados: husband
The Ottawa woman brutally attacked while vacationing in the Barbados last weekend has signs of brain damage and may never recover, her husband told reporters Saturday.
Speaking off-camera and surrounded by family and friends, Steve Cotsman said Terry Schwarzfeld, his wife of 37 years, remains in critical condition at the Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus. The 60-year-old mother of three is in a coma and no longer being sedated.
She may never recover from her injuries, according to doctors.
"The real tragedy is we're losing an activist who contributes to the community, losing a mom, losing a friend, and I'm losing more than 50 per cent of my life force," said Cotsman.
"Either she doesn't make it, or if she does (survive) she may no be much more than this."
Schwarzfeld, a prominent member in Ottawa's Jewish community, was recently elected as the international vice president of Hadassah International, a leading Jewish women's philanthropic organization. She is also a familiar face to local cross-country skiers and dragon boat racers.
Schwarzfeld and her daughter-in-law Luana Cotsman were walking along an isolated stretch of Long Beach on the southern tip of Barbados on Feb. 28 when they were approached by a would-be robber.
When they pleaded that they had nothing of value, the man struck the back of Schwarzfeld's head with a large piece of wood, causing swelling of the brain.
She was heavily sedated in Barbadian hospital to reduce the swelling and internal bleeding. She was airlifted home on Wednesday morning.
Barbados police have yet to make any arrests, though three people of interest have been questioned.
E. Evelyn Greaves, the Barbados high commissioner in Ottawa, said the attack is an isolated incident, and that the country remains safe for visitors.
Cotsman said he asked police why they haven't posted signs along Long Beach, where many incidents have taken place. They responded that tourists would become nervous.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Kate Eggins