Health

Brain-Damaged Baby Makes Miraculous Recovery (Photos)

| by Michael Howard

A 2-year-old girl recovered from hypoxic brain damage after her older sister blew on her belly, according to the toddler's parents.

When Poppy Smith was born on Dec. 17, 2014, she weighed only 2 pounds. Months later, after her parents noticed she had difficulty eating, doctors diagnosed Poppy with Moebius syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes partial paralysis of the face.

"They said that she might not walk or talk, but she started walking at 15 months, which is quite average for a premature baby," her father Stephen said, reports the Daily Mail. "It was amazing to see her doing all those things."

Although Poppy was admitted to the hospital several times for respiratory issues, overall she was developing better than doctors had expected her to.

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But in the days leading up to her second birthday, Poppy's health declined. Her mother was unable to wake the toddler one morning.

"We could feel her heartbeat, but she was unresponsive," Stephen explained. "We knew there was something seriously wrong. She was breathing but she was sort of gasping for air."

She was rushed to hospital, and within a day she improved enough to be taken off her ventilator. Then, two days later, her condition took a turn for the worse.

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"Her eyes were starting to roll to the back of her head," Stephen said. "A chest X-ray showed that her lungs were full of fluid and she had another respiratory arrest. That night she started to develop twitches and seizures. She was deteriorating fast."

An MRI revealed that Poppy had suffered severe brain damage.

"I asked if she was going to walk or talk again, but they said they didn't even know if she was going to survive. When it started to sink it, it was heartbreaking," Stephen said. "They told us we had to wait and see, but it wasn't looking good. I just wanted them to tell me that she was going to be OK."

Poppy was soon breathing on her own again, but she showed no signs of brain activity.

Stephen, his wife, Amy, and their three other children -- Elisha, Macey and Alfie -- prepared themselves for the worst. They spent Christmas Day with Poppy in the hospital, and that's when 12-year-old Macey decided to "blow a raspberry" on her little sister's belly.

Incredibly, Poppy responded.

"Macey blew a raspberry on her belly and suddenly Poppy started laughing. We couldn't believe it," Stephen said. "We found out afterwards that it wasn't uncommon for people in this state to show emotion, but to us it seemed like she was responding."

Suddenly, Poppy began to recover, and soon she was crawling and learning to speak again.

"We couldn't believe it. It's been just eight weeks. It's incredible. She's progressed so much," Stephen said. "The doctors are baffled. They say that she shouldn't be doing what she is doing. They are so glad she is, but they didn't think she would. She's proving them all wrong."

Poppy's family has since set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for two weeks of intensive physical therapy at a rehabilitation center in Italy.

"We want to get more physio for her earlier rather than later, because we think the sooner we do, the more of her mobility we can save," Stephen explained. "Our hospital has been great, but it is small and they don't have the facilities to give her that sort of treatment. She only has one physio session a week."

In two months, the crowdfunding campaign had raised $4,500.

Sources: Daily Mail, GoFundMe / Photo credit: PA Real Life via Daily Mail

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