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The Little Mermaid

A few days before her 8th birthday, Heli was at the pool, practicing holding her breath underwater. In a sudden and frightening turn of events, she lost consciousness, and was brought to the surface, not breathing and without a heartbeat. The lifeguards’ quick action resuscitated her, and she was rushed to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. For hours, with so much water in her lungs, the “little mermaid’s" condition was touch and go.

Heli’s mother, Tricia, had been at the pool when she was brought to the surface. The lifeguards resuscitated her, and saved her life. And within minutes, Heli was rushed to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. In the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, hospital staff kept close watch. Heli’s lungs either would clear, or would need intubation, or they might simply choose to shut down. It was all a matter of waiting to see.

For Tricia, it was an agonizing time. But she was impressed with the speed, the professionalism and the expertise of the staff, as well as the outpouring of attention. “The Emergency Room nurses and pediatric intensivist, Dr. Saquib Lakhani, were terrific,” says Tricia. “They knew how to help all of us. They were caring, they were honest, and I needed that.”

Heli, now conscious, was receiving oxygen and was frightened. “How’s our little mermaid?” staff members would ask her. “You know, you’re human now. You can’t breathe under water anymore.”

Early the next morning, Heli’s condition turned around; her lungs cleared. And today, she’s back to life. Her mother has high praise for the hospital. In looking back, she marvels at the fortunate circumstances. “We were surrounded by a community. There was a pediatrician at the pool, and neighbors and friends throughout the hospital. It was amazing.

“We went through some of the worst moments in our lives. And the hospital pulled us through. We’ll never forget how caring and professional they were. Thanks for helping our little mermaid."

How You Can Help

Interested in helping patients like Heli and all the other children being treated in our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit? Consider purchasing an item from our Pediatric Unit Top 10 Wishlist to help make their stay with us feel a little more like home.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you have a story that you would like to share with us? Sharing your experience at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center will inspire others and help us to recognize the efforts of those who made a difference in your life!