A toddler who suffered severe brain damage after falling into her family’s pool has shown significant progress after undergoing a series of oxygen treatments, with her mother reporting that she’s back to “near normal” more than a year after the accident.
The near-drowning occurred in early 2016, when Eden Carlson found her way into the swimming pool at her Fayetteville, Arkansas, home, and fell in. Fifteen minutes later, her mother discovered her seemingly lifeless body, with no pulse and unable to breathe. Frantically, she performed CPR until emergency officials arrived, and Eden was rushed to a nearby hospital so doctors could take over.
Two hours later, Eden – who had also suffered cardiac arrest – was revived. But the near-drowning had left her unable to speak, walk or respond in any meaningful way. A month-and-a-half later, she was discharged from the hospital and began the lengthy process of rehabilitation to try to repair some of the damaged tissue in her still-developing brain.
But the doctors started that process slowly. Twice each day for 45 minutes each, Eden was administered oxygen at the same air pressure as air at sea level. Slowly, she regained mobility in her arms and hands and began speaking again, even laughing.
She was then transferred to LSU Health New Orleans, where she again was administered oxygen – pure oxygen, at a higher-than-normal pressure – in a treatment known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Many in the medical community remain skeptical of the procedure, which is not covered by insurance.
But Dr. Paul Harch, a hyperbaric specialist with LSU Health New Orleans, says the procedure reduced brain swelling, reinvigorated her surviving brain cells, and allowed oxygen-enhanced blood to help repair the brain tissue before long-term damage set in.
After just 10 sessions, her mother reported she was back to “near normal,” and in fact walking and talking better than before the accident. Not only that, her neurological, cognition and other tests also showed significant improvement.
MRI scans performed immediately after the accident showed her brain had begun to shrink, but a subsequent scan revealed that her brain “had almost completely re-grown,” said Harch, who oversaw Eden’s treatment.
That’s rare, but “you have a growing child, a hormone-rich brain and stimulation in this setting. And the result is that we were able to demonstrate an obvious and large re-growth of brain tissue that is inarguably the result of this therapy.”
Watch the video below to hear more about Eden’s incredible recovery, and share to spread amazement and hope!