Parents of hospitalized Columbine students hope for best
April 27, 1999
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (CNN) -- Of the 24 Columbine High School students wounded in last week's assault, nine remained hospitalized Tuesday.
"Natalie almost broke up in tears, just because he is eating chicken bouillon," her husband told CNN on Tuesday in an interview at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado.
Clutching her husband's hand, Natalie Graves told CNN Correspondent Martin Savidge she was "doing okay, being strong for Sean."
Their son, who was shot in the back and abdomen during the April 20 assault, has been moved off the critical list and is in fair condition.
Randy Graves hopes that his son will make a full recovery, but knows that it will take time and patience.
"We're going to be there working with him to get over this challenge," he said. "No matter what the outcome is, he's going to live a full and successful life."
Richard Castaldo, 17, suffered five gunshot wounds to his chest, back, arm and colon. He is now listed in fair condition, however, it is not clear whether he will be able to walk again.
His father, Rick Castaldo, said the family decided to tell Richard about the full extent of his injuries.
"He's asked a lot of questions. He's been very inquisitive of both the surgeon who did the surgery to repair his back and the doctors who have come in to ask him questions," said the elder Castaldo.
He said his son had always talked about owning a coffee shop. But when recently asked by one of the doctors what he was going to do when he grew up, Richard replied, "I think I'll help kids like me."
After suffering what he calls "the worst nightmare," Rick Castaldo has some advice for other parents: "Make sure you have a good, close, loving relationship with your children. Pay attention to the spiritual aspects of their lives."
The doctor caring for 17-year-old Anne Marie Hochhalter said that of all the wounded brought to Swedish Medical Center she was the one closest to death.
"She was shot in her chest on the right side, just below her breast and she had another entrance wound to the left of her spine in the back," said Dr. Phil Mallory, adding that she has made remarkable progress.
Hochhalter remains in serious condition in the intensive care unit.
"She has a lot of courage," Ted Hochhalter said of his daughter.
Before she was taken off a ventilator, she communicated by writing on a clipboard.
Her father read one of her messages for CNN: "It's overwhelming what can happen to the goodness of humankind when tragedy happens."
Ted Hochhalter said he was also overwhelmed by and grateful for the "worldwide" outpouring of good wishes and prayers for his daughter and all of the other students hurt in the assault.
The father said he would advise every parent "to hug your kids every day, all the time." And he urged parents to "be as involved (with your children) as you possibly can because you never know -- you just never know -- when they can be snatched away."
Correspondent Martin Savidge contributed to this report.
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Swedish Hospital (patient conditions)
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