Today, three-year-old Eden Carlson is lucky to be walking. In fact, she’s lucky to be alive at all. A couple of years ago, she smashed through a backyard baby gate and went tumbling into the pool. When her mother saw what happened, she screamed and then brought Eden indoors and administered CPR. Eden had no pulse for two hours and the doctors didn’t expect her to survive. She defied those odds but had suffered serious brain damage and there was little hope for recovery.
As her mother recalled, “When it was becoming clear that medically there was nothing else that could be done with our daughter, we started getting online and researching different ways that brain injuries have been helped through different alternative methods.” What they turned up was hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which involves inhaling pure oxygen under pressure. They contacted Dr. Paul Harch of LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. Before he began treating Eden, Dr. Harch reported that, “She had been uncontrollably squirming, moving side-to-side, and wouldn’t focus her eyes on anything. What I wanted to find out was if she would respond to oxygen and how she might respond to the hyperbaric chamber.”
Miraculously, there was progress. After just two treatments, Eden was squirming less and her eyes were starting to focus. Within a few weeks, the little girl was walking with her mother’s help. Before long, she was yelling “I’m walking! I’m walking!” Dr. Harch was surprised and delighted: “It’s cute as can be but perfectly spontaneous. It’s incredibly gratifying. You know, if my career and life ended tomorrow, this is all worth it. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Eden’s mother was even happier: “Her personality is back; she’s got her sense of humor back. She’s into everything. She’s a little wobbly on her feet, but she’s getting better all the time.” Eden isn’t completely better, but she’s making great progress toward living a normal childhood.
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