2009-05-22 / Front Page

Blinded Cop Leaves Hospital

By Howard Schwach

One day before his 36th birthday, a Far Rockaway police sergeant who some are calling "the city's miracle cop" walked out of the hospital under his own power.

Sergeant Timothy Smith walks out of Bellevue Hospital a week ago under his own power after losing an eye to a deranged Far Rockaway attacker in January. Sergeant Timothy Smith walks out of Bellevue Hospital a week ago under his own power after losing an eye to a deranged Far Rockaway attacker in January. Just months ago, doctors treating Sergeant Timothy Smith, who was viciously stabbed in his eye by a deranged man in Far Rockaway, said that if he survived, he would never walk, laugh, or enjoy a normal life.

The kitchen knife wielded by Neil Perreira pierced Smith's left eye and struck his brain. He could barely speak when he was rolled into a Manhattan trauma center.

Over the next few weeks, Smith lost his ability to speak and walk. He survived several grueling surgeries, including draining blood from his brain. His eye was removed to stanch the bleeding to his brain.

Doctors told Smith's wife that he would face a long and difficult convalescence, and that he might never be able to live a normal life.

Smith proved them wrong, walking out of Bellevue Hospital only four months after the January 15 attack.

Perreira has been charged with attempted murder, but is currently under treatment in a mental institution where he will remain until he is stable enough to face trial.

As Smith walked out of the hospital, fellow officers from the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway, where Smith was assigned, sang "Happy Birthday" and cheered.

Among those on hand when Smith left the hospital on Friday was Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who was also there on the night of the attack when Smith was taken to the Jamaica Hospital Trauma Center.

"It's been truly miraculous," Kelly told reporters. "He has shown tremendous heart and resolve to recover. We're all inspired by it."

Doctors said that Smith never shirked his physical therapy sessions and the sessions will continue while he is home on Long Island.

"If he continues to make strides," his trauma doctor said, "there's no reason to think that he won't be able to rejoin the force."

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