A 2-year-old from Arkansas who nearly drowned in her family's swimming pool is on the mend thanks to a type of oxygen therapy.
In February 2016, Eden Carlson broke through her baby gate and headed into the family pool. Her mother, who believed the child was safe playing with older siblings, was in the shower, WDSU News reports. Eden was found after struggling in cold water for at least 10 minutes, without a heartbeat, the station reports. She was not expected to survive, but she did.
Eden was left with severe brain damage. She couldn't speak or walk, according to a release. Her parents were told she would never talk, walk, eat on her own or react to her surroundings.
“When we brought her home, she was in a vegetative state. She could not speak, she could not eat. She was in a feeding tube,” says mother, Kristal Carlson.
Fifty-five days after Eden's near drowning, Paul Harch of Hyperbaric Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine started hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Oxygen administered at sea-level pressure filled Eden's nose for 45 minutes, twice a day. Eden started hyperbaric oxygen therapy about a month later, breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber, five days a week.
In May, the miraculous happened: She laughed. She moved her arms, hands and eyes. She could speak. Today, she's able to climb up stairs on a play set by herself. The new responses happened gradually, but to much surprise.
Her brain damage started to reverse — what could be a first in medical history.
Kristal wants others to know, it could help your child suffering from brain injuries.
“The days of children having bad MRI images and being sentenced to being a vegetable need to be over with because there are treatments like this that can help improve the quality of life,” she says.
“The startling regrowth of tissue in this case occurred because we were able to intervene early in a growing child, before long-term tissue degeneration,” Harch said in a statement.
Harch and Edward Fogarty, at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, documented her progress in a report published in Medical Gas Research.
To learn more about Eden's journey, visit Eden's Miracles on Facebook.
Dr. Greg Savel, M.D. is a local pediatrician with , who has treated patients with brain damage after near drawings.
He explains Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been around for years.
Mainly used to treat scuba divers who have air bubbles trapped in a blood vessel.
“Now, it is also known in smaller children with these near drowning episodes that you can regenerate these brain tissues over a certain period. That is something no one would of ever believed would have happened,” says Dr. Savel.
In Zephyrhills, you can find Hyperbaric Centers of Florida.
Here they treat anything from Autism to cancer to Traumatic Brain Injury.
Dr. Savel says with this new research of reversing brain damage the possibilities are endless.
“We're learning more about the growing brain in a child that is it so resilient. I hope that a myriad of knowledge will come from this situation,” he says.
Dr. Savel told us about the urgency of teaching your children how to swim at a young age.
He also says floaties are the worst thing for your kids. They create a sense of false security.
He recommends teaching your kids how to actually swim instead.
Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets