Among those in critical condition following last Friday's mass shooting
at a midnight The Dark Knight Rises
screening in Aurora, Colorado is Caleb Medley
, an aspiring comedian
and Batman fan. Medley lost his right eye in the incident, which took the lives of 12 people and injured dozens of others, and he is presently in a medically induced coma
and breathing with the aid of a ventilator. Just four days after the attack, Medley's wife Katie, who was also in the cinema that night, gave birth to the couple's first child
in the same hospital where he's still recovering.
To say it's been a harrowing ordeal for the young couple is an understatement. But their situation became even more intense when doctors told Katie Medley that her husband's medical bills could exceed $2 million
, as Caleb is one of the 50 million Americans without health insurance. In response to this awful state of affairs, the Medleys' friends have established a website to accept donations on their behalf
High school sweethearts who graduated together in 2007, Katie and Caleb moved to the Denver area last year. Caleb hopes to work as a standup comedian and had already begun appearing on the local circuit, while Katie actively pursued her career in veterinary medicine. They were both excited for the arrival of their first child, Hugo, named after the Jorge Garcia character from Lost
. Little Hugo was expected to arrive within days of July 20, when The Dark Knight Rises opened in U.S. cinemas. The couple lined up in their Batman gear to be among the first people to see the new film at midnight last Friday, which they considered to be a final romantic date before "officially" becoming parents.
Caleb lost his right eye in the shooting, which occurred shortly after the screening began. Katie was uninjured and gave birth to healthy baby Hugo on Tuesday, just one floor above where Caleb lies in the intensive care unit at the University of Colorado Hospital. His condition is said to be improving, as Caleb's begun to breathe on his own and is squeezing people's hands. According to his friend Mike West
, Caleb has suffered some brain damage.
Neither Caleb nor his immediate family have medical insurance, and have been told by doctors that Caleb's recovery could cost as much as $2 million. The Huffington Post
reports that the number of Americans without health insurance is approaching 50 million. The Affordable Care Act (popularly known as "Obamacare") is meant to provide some form of healthcare to as many as 30 million uninsured Americans
, but it doesn't go into effect until 2014.
In the face of what is almost certainly an insurmountable debt, the Medleys' friends have created a website to encourage the public to help out. The Associated Press reports that more than $70,000 has been raised so far, but our fellow fans could certainly use more help. You can read more about Caleb and Katie and make a donation to their medical costs at this website
. You can keep up with Caleb and Katie's progress more readily via Facebook
In related news, Warner Bros. Pictures, the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises
, is working with GivingFirst.org
to raise money to benefit the victims of the Aurora shooting through a number of different nonprofit organizations.