Last February, Kristal Carlson experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when she walked out to her backyard and discovered her then nearly 2-year-old daughter face down in their swimming pool.
“I found her floating face down in the water. She had gone through a baby gate and pushed open a heavy door and gotten into the pool,” Kristal said about the moment she realized what had happened to her daughter, Eden. “When I found her I immediately pulled her out of the water and started CPR.”
By the time Kristal started giving CPR, Eden had been in the water for almost 15 minutes. Soon after, an ambulance arrived and rushed Eden to the emergency room where doctors worked tirelessly for two hours to revive her. Eden was alive, but was left with severe brain damage after so much time without oxygen.
“It’s like any parent’s worst nightmare come true. Her prognosis was pretty grim. We were told to expect that she may be a vegetable her whole life,” Kristal said. Despite everything the doctors said, Eden’s parents refused to give up on her and reached out to Dr. Paul Harch, who started giving Eden oyxgen for 45 minutes twice a day through small nasal tubes.
Since she had such a good response to the oxygen, Harch started Eden on his experimental hyperbaric chamber therapy 78 days after the drowning accident. After just a few sessions, Eden’s condition began to improve and she has now learned to walk and talk again. And after her 40th session, an MRI scan showed that almost all the brain damage had been completely reversed.
“Watching her be in a vegetative state to sitting up again, crawling, and then pulling to stand and taking those very first shaky steps last summer, it’s been absolutely amazing,” Kristal said. “We know this is absolutely unprecedented and completely miraculous that she is the way she is today. The doctor treating Eden says the unbelievable regrowth of brain tissue occurred because they were able to intervene early before long-term tissue degeneration.”