Written by Scot Smith on January 5, 2009. This was also reported in an article published in the Tampa Tribune, entitled “Parents Set on Baby’s Girl Recovery,” dated April 2, 2008.
“Ashlyn Smith was 14 months old in February 2008. It was on February 10th when she fell into the family pool and was underwater for about 5 minutes. Her Mother, Stacey, was at home and found her. Austin, our oldest son, called 911 while Stacey performed CPR until help arrived. The 1st responder was a police officer, Robert Woods, who took over administering CPR.
When paramedics arrived and took over the CPR, it took them over 30 minutes to bring Ashlyn back to get a pulse. They then rushed Ashlyn to Brandon Hospital where we stayed past midnight. Then we were advised us Ashlyn was being sent to St Joseph’s Children’s
Ashlyn’s prognosis was terrible. The doctor explained that she was in a coma and they had her on a breathing machine. She was removed from the breathing machine after the second day. After 5 days of being in the ICU, she was moved to a regular room while still in a coma and having muscle spasms. The doctor stated that oxygen will help heal some of the brain cells.
Over the course of the month Ashlyn was in the hospital, the rehabilitation doctor spoke to us about hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatment and that this treatment was not FDA approved. But everything that he had read about HBOT indicated it would not hurt Ashlyn and would probably help. He said it did not matter what makes her better, just that we get her better. He gave us Mark Fowler’s telephone number. We did some research on the HBOT and talked to Mark. While Ashlyn was in the hospital, she was tested for hearing, seizures, and her eyesight. All tests came back fine except for her vision. The eyes worked but the brain was not interpreting what she was seeing. The neurologist said he saw very little brain activity. She had a feeding tube put in. Ashlyn was semi-conscious and having muscle spasms when she came home. The doctors could not give a prognosis on Ashlyn because every child is different with her kind of accident. They dId say we could see some improvements once taking Ashlyn home. But after only a few months of the hyperbaric treatment, Ashlyn’s sight was restored. We went to the neurologist 3 months later and he was just amazed that at this was the same baby girl he had seen only 3 months earlier!
Currently, Ashlyn is off all medications and eating and drinking on her own. She is able to move around the floor by army crawling, sitting, rolling, pulling up on things and almost crawling. Her speech is at with her age level. She continues HBOT and physical therapy twice a week, and Speech therapy weekly. The therapist said the way Ashlyn has been progressing that her prognosis is very good. She is starting to try to walk again. We are very optimistic about a full recovery. After the 6th month check up with the neurologist, he was still amazed on her recovery. He asked if we were still administering HBOT and I proudly said “yes.” (The doctor is known not to have faith in HBOT). Maybe, Ashlyn is making him more receptive to HBOT. He also said one year for our next check up and after that, if all is good, not again. AWESOME! All the doctors call Ashlyn the Miracle Baby. The physical therapist reported that with Ashlyn’s type of accident, she has never seen anyone progress as fast as Ashlyn. She thinks there is something to the chamber.
As far as the HBOT, Ashlyn has been going since March 2008, 5 times a week for an hour and the results speak for themselves. We have our Ashlyn back. We think that God led the rehabilitation doctor to Mark to help Ashlyn. Thanks again, Mark and Anna, for allowing us to come into your home and supporting our Miracle Baby back to health.”
—- From Scot, Stacey, Austin, Alex and most of all, Ashlyn.