Freezing cold apparently helped avert brain damage in a 3-year-old girl found clinically dead in a snowbank, her doctor says.
Brittany Eichelberger was stiff and blue when her parents found her outside their trailer home in Elkins, W.Va., on Christmas Eve. She had been in the snow for 2 1/2 hours in only her underwear.At a news conference Wednesday at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, she talked with her parents and tried to blow soap bubbles through a bubble wand held by her father, Steve Robinson.
Dr. Pat Kochanek said Brittany could go home Friday. He said 27-degree temperatures and the quick application of cardiopulmonary resuscitation may have prevented brain damage.
"She looks great, certainly neurologically," said Kochanek, a specialist in pediatric intensive care.
"I think God's the one who did it," said the girl's mother, Melinda Eichelberger. Brittany will lose part of her right big toe, Kochanek said. But other symptoms, including a weak left arm and pneumonia, will go away.
The girl was wheeled in on a child-size bed Wednesday and turned her head away at the sight of lights, cameras and reporters.
Her parents said Brittany has talked little about her ordeal.
"The only thing she said so far is that she went outside to look for Mom and Dad," her mother said. "She thought we went to work. And then she fell off the porch."
Her father said she has promised not to leave the house again without telling her parents.
After her parents found her on her back in the snow about 10 yards from the house, a neighbor administered CPR until paramedics arrived.
Her body temperature was 74 degrees when she reached the hospital, where doctors continued CPR for 3 1/2 hours before the girl's heart resumed beating.