Donations, treatment center will cover experimental therapy for 16-month-old child who nearly drowned in holding pool

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – A 16-month-old girl who nearly drowned in a retention pond a month ago and was left in a comatose state needs experimental treatment to recover, her family says.

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Ayla Pinkett’s family is banking on hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which has restored a 2-year-old child from Arkansas to health after similar circumstances.

RELATED: 16-month-old child who nearly drowned in retention pond needs experimental treatment

But the $12,000 treatment is not covered by insurance, Ayla’s parents said.

They created a GoFundMe page, which had raised nearly $5,000 on Tuesday.

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In addition to the community’s generosity, North Florida Hyperbarics said it chose Ayla as the recipient of the only charitable case it takes each year.

Between that and the donations raised so far, the practice said Ayla’s treatment should be covered.

Ayala Pinkett, 16 months, nearly drowned in a retention pond in June (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.)

On June 9, a JSO officer removed the 16-month-old from the holding tank at Madelyn Oaks apartments. A resident, who did not want to be identified, said he saw the officer run to the pond and jump into it in an attempt to save the child. She said a maintenance worker also helped.

“They knew how to do like teamwork. She was able to give the baby to the maintenance guy, and now she’s trying to get out of it because she put on her safety gear, seatbelt, stuff like that,” the neighbor said. “She did an amazing job, like doing what she could do.”

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16-month-old child who nearly drowned in a retention pond needs experimental treatment

The family said Ayla’s near drowning led to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, which is a term for brain dysfunction caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

According to Ayla’s family, doctors did not have much hope that Ayla would function normally again and told the family that she might not be able to recover. But Ayala’s parents are encouraged by a 2-year-old child from Arkansas who nearly drowned in his family’s swimming pool.

In February 2016, Eden Carlson was underwater for at least 10 minutes and was not expected to survive.

MAKE A DONATION: Help Ayala get hyperbaric oxygen treatment

Eden had severe brain damage. She could not speak or walk, and her parents were told she could never do so again. But after several months of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, his brain damage was reversed.

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Eden is now able to walk, talk and becomes a normal little girl again. Ayla’s family hopes the same treatment will bring her back too. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment involves placing a patient in a special hyperbaric chamber where they breathe 100% pure oxygen. The treatment is FDA cleared for several injuries, such as air bubbles in blood vessels and wounds.

“Because this little girl has so much promise and so much life ahead of her,” said Ayala’s great-aunt Kisha Whitehurst. “She’s not even 2, you know, and she’s here. She wants to be awake.

At this time, Ayla is stable but is breathing through a trachea and being fed through a tube.

Whitehurst said that when she thinks of Ayala, she thinks of energy.

“She’s very bright, very happy,” Whitehurst said. “Very full of personality.”

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All Rights Reserved.

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