Ottawa woman in induced coma after Barbados attack
A prominent member of Ottawa's Jewish community is in an induced coma in a Barbados hospital after she was attacked Saturday while walking on the Caribbean island's famous Long Beach.
Terry Schwarzfeld and her daughter-in-law, Luana Cotsman of Guelph, Ont., were beaten and left unconscious.
"They were attacked, and reportedly injured by a piece of wood," according to an unidentified Barbados policeman.
"The reports indicate that they were struck in the upper part of the body and the injuries have been mostly to the head," he said.
Cotsman, who was travelling with her husband David and toddler son Benjamin, was knocked unconscious but came out of it while still on the beach, said her father-in-law, Stephen Cotsman. She has been released from hospital.
"She suffered from minor bleeding at the base of her skull close to her spine as well as heavy bruising on one arm. She is sore, exhausted, stressed, but OK," he said.
Schwarzfeld was knocked unconscious by one or two blows to the back of her head, Cotsman said.
She didn't regain consciousness and was heavily sedated at the hospital to reduce the chance of any further damage, he said.
Her brain is swelling and bleeding, she has already had several CAT scans and will be kept sedated at least until she can be safely transported back to Ottawa, Cotsman said.
"An incident like this has caused concern to [the] government and people of Barbados," said Edward Evelyn Greaves, Barbados's high commissioner to Canada on Tuesday.
"We are concerned about the family, the woman and her family, what has happened. We are concerned about her health," he said.
Schwarzfeld, past executive director of Agudath Israel Synagogue, was recently named president of the Canadian chapter of Hadassah-WIZO, a charitable, international Jewish women's organization nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
Barbados police haven't made any arrests yet.
"We have strong support here in Barbados by the police, tourism authority, the Canadian high commission, our neighbours and the local people," Cotsman said.
With files from the Canadian Press.