A toddler who suffered severe brain damage after falling into her family’s pool has made great progress after having a series of oxygen treatments, with her mother stating that she is “near normal” more than a year later.
Eden Carlson nearly drowned in early 2016, when she slipped into the swimming pool at her Fayetteville, Arkansas, home. Her mother discovered her seemingly lifeless body 15 minutes later, 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 a 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.
However, the physicians took their time. Eden was given oxygen at the same air pressure as at sea level twice a day for 45 minutes each. She gradually regained movement in her arms and hands and began communicating and even laughing again.
She was then transferred to LSU Health New Orleans, where she was given oxygen again – pure oxygen at a higher-than-normal pressure – in a procedure known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Many doctors are still wary of the treatment, 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!