Ayla Pinkett, 16-months old, fell into a retention pond a month ago.  She nearly drowned to death and was left in a comatose state. Her family has pushed for the girl to receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to aid in her recovery.  To date, they raised over $6,000 on a GoFund Me page, and North Florida Hyperbarics recently agreed to take on Ayla as a patient, fulfilling the sole charity case they accept annually.

On June 9, a JSO officer pulled the 16-month-old out of the retention pond at the Madelyn Oaks Apartments. A resident, who didn’t want to be identified, said they witnessed the officer running to the pond and jumping in to try to save the child. She said a maintenance worker also helped.

The family said Ayla’s near-drowning resulted in 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 didn’t have much hope that Ayla would function normally again and told the family that she may not make it. But Ayala’s parents are encouraged by a 2-year-old from Arkansas who nearly drowned in her family’s swimming pool.

Ayla’s parents hold on to the story of Eden Carlson as hope that their daughter can make a full recovery with HBOT….

In February 2016, Eden Carlson was underwater for at least 10 minutes and wasn’t expected to survive. Eden had severe brain damage. She couldn’t speak or walk, and her parents were told she’d never be able to again. But after hyperbaric oxygen therapy over several months, her brain damage was reversed.

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

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

Right now, Ayla is stable but is breathing with the help of a trach and is being fed through a tube.

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

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

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