'It's more than a miracle': Toddler who almost drowned in creek goes home from hospital

By Stephen Speckman, Deseret News

Published: Friday, May 12 2006 12:14 a.m. MDT


Brook Miera will get to spend Mother's Day with her 2-year-old son, Jaxon, who two weeks ago was found submerged beneath the frigid waters of Farmington Creek.
Brook, Jaxon and his father, Joey Miera, left Primary Children's Medical Center Thursday, headed for home in Clearfield.

"Where's Mommy? I'm all done," were Jaxon's first words when he woke up in the hospital.
 shy, quiet Jaxon wore a neck brace Thursday. At some point he suffered a whiplash injury, but his parents aren't sure if it happened when he fell in the creek April 27 or when he was rescued.

A hospital official said Jaxon arrived in critical condition, made a lot of progress and left in good condition.
Jaxon's mother said her son will need therapy for walking and talking, and tests to determine if he suffered any hearing damage. Doctors are also waiting for the results of an MRI to learn more about possible brain damage.

"We know he'll make a full recovery it's just a matter of time," his mother said Thursday at the hospital.
Two weeks ago, things looked "grim" for Jaxon, according to his father.

Jaxon and another 2-year-old left the home of Brook Miera's best friend in Farmington. The two mothers were inside the house but unaware one of the boys had figured out how to unlock a door. "I was just in the other room," Brook Miera said. In just a few moments the boys were gone.

A frantic search found one boy looking into the creek, with Jaxon underneath the water, his shorts snagged on some branches. He was pulled out, hypothermic and having gone several minutes without oxygen. "It's more than a miracle," Brook said. "Physically, medically he wasn't supposed to make it." From a medical perspective, Jaxon was considered lucky.



Primary Children's pediatric emergency medicine physician Dr. Robert Bolte did not work on Jaxon's case, but he's an expert on cold-water drowning victims. He helped set up the hospital's protocol for resuscitating victims of acute hypothermia. Bolte said a child trapped beneath frigid water, around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, experiences a rapid drop in core temperature. Breathing stops, there is loss of consciousness and the heart quits beating.

A child's Jaxon size can experience hypothermia quickly, with little body fat for insulation and more exposed surface area, or skin relative to body weight, for cold water to more quickly impact a person's body temperature, Bolte said. But when that child's core temperature drops low enough and quick enough, the demand for oxygen in the child's brain can also drop to only about 20 percent of what it normally needs, Bolte said.

The decreased demand for oxygen in the brain can buy a child time until rescuers begin resuscitation. "Again, there's a certain amount of luck in this," he said. On the side of luck is a Primary Children's emergency room crew, ready for when a hypothermia victim rolls through the doors. Victims of mild to moderate hypothermia are treated with a Bair Hugger blanket, which is like a balloon of warm air around the body to rapidly restore it to a normal temperature. In extreme cases, the body's blood is withdrawn, warmed and recirculated for rapid rewarming.

The more quickly doctors and nurses can restore normal body temperature in a person, the better chance for a good outcome, Bolte said. Jaxon's dad has his own idea about the outcome.
"You can tell that God was on his side the whole time," Joey Miera said. "He's a fighter and I know he's resilient as heck."
Brook's own mother, Kim Mordue, thought she knew how her daughter felt as Jaxon left the hospital.

"It'll be a good Mother's Day for his mom," Mordue said.


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