JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
She had been underwater for at least five minutes from a car accident that kept her trapped. Now, nearly two weeks later, five-year-old Helena White makes an incredible recovery thanks to the actions of strangers.
"She's always been a little fighter. It doesn't matter what it was," said mother Chasity White. "She's very headstrong, so that just gave me a little bit more hope."
That hope, White said, stemmed from something she knew right away after the December 28 crash.
"I kind of had a feeling that everything was gonna be okay, and apparently so did she," White said.
That day, White's vehicle ran off the road and overturned, trapping her daughter underwater.
UMMC Chief of Pediatric Critical Care Dr. Mary Taylor said that sequence of events damaged Helena's lungs, but nothing else because she was restrained.
"She was in an appropriate seat belt with a five-point restraint for someone her size, and while it may seem funny because she was more or less trapped in the car, that probably saved her from a significant injury from the rollover accident," Dr. Taylor said.
Dr. Taylor estimates Helena was underwater anywhere from five to ten minutes before she was rescued.
"Most people who have a near drowning, especially if there's any extended period of time that they're without oxygen, they don't have a good outcome, certainly not one as good as Helena has had," Dr. Taylor added.
The little girl turned five just days ago in the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital, surrounded by her family and provided with balloons from the nursing staff.
"They took the ventilator out on her birthday, so I think that was a really good birthday present," White said.
Now, Dr. Taylor said Helena has made a full recovery and could be released Sunday.
She's also had no shortage of visitors, from paramedics to firefighters. All of them were among the people who stopped on that December day.
"She asked me how she got out of the car," White said. "I told her a lot of people helped us. She goes, 'I want to meet them.'"
Dr. Taylor said Helena's lungs have fully healed, and there's no evidence of brain injury or damage.
She added the little girl may have some minor respiratory problems later in life, but nothing severe.
Wednesday, February 21 2018 10:19 PM EST2018-02-22 03:19:45 GMT
Thursday, February 22 2018 12:04 AM EST2018-02-22 05:04:59 GMT
Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg, one of the 17 killed last week in Parkland, FL, pressed Sen. Marco Rubio on the role of guns and assault weapons in the shooting during a CNN town hall event on Wednesday, Feb. 21. (Source: CNN)
Senator Marco Rubio faced a barrage of tough questioning related to gun control and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida at a CNN town hall event on Wednesday.