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Archie Ingersoll, Forum Communications Co., Published November 23 2010

Former UND student leader in hospice care

A former UND student body president who fell into a coma after reportedly being punched outside a bar in May recently began receiving hospice care at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minn.

A severe stomach infection has dimmed hopes that 32-year-old Adam Baker will recover from his injuries, which include significant brain damage, his CaringBridge website says.

“According to the neurosurgeon, even if they were successful in treating Adam’s current infection, he will continue to get infections that will only get more and more severe and difficult to treat,” says an entry posted on the site Friday.

The entry sheds light on how Baker’s loved ones reached their decision to move him into hospice care: “While we knew Adam would choose life if given the choice, we also knew Adam would not choose to live in a coma unable to contribute to society in the way only Adam could.”

The site says Baker was transferred to North Memorial earlier this month from Bethesda Hospital, a long-term-care facility in St. Paul. Because of multiple variables, doctors don’t know how much longer he will live, according to the site.

Alexander Tuomisto – the man accused of punching Baker outside the Corner Bar in St. Michael, Minn., a town about 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis – is charged with first-degree assault. If Baker dies, Tuomisto would likely be charged with first-degree manslaughter, Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly has said.

Tuomisto, 24, of St. Michael pleaded not guilty to the assault charge earlier this month, and the case is set for trial Jan. 3 in Buffalo, Minn.

Witnesses reported seeing Tuomisto knock Baker unconscious with a single punch to the jaw early May 2, causing him to hit his head on the ground, according to a criminal complaint.

Baker was living in Dayton, Ohio, and working for Delta Air Lines before he was injured. He was about to receive his master’s degree in aviation management from UND.

He served as student body president during the 2003-04 school year.

Archie Ingersoll is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald