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Girl blinded by flu regains her vision

Good News with 13

PARKERSBURG, IA – Complications from the flu caused a 4-year-old girl to go blind. Now, she’s regained her sight.

In her grandma’s house in Parkersburg, Iowa, the sound on one little girl’s innocent giggles can bring a smile to even the most jaded.

Jade is a typical 4-year-old girl, she likes the color purple, unicorns, puppies and …

“(giggles) How about I have a hug and I’ll give him to you, how about that? Can I have a hug, OK thank you. I love you,” Jade’s mother, Amanda Phillips, said.

“OK give me my dinosaur back,” Jade said.

… can be a little sassy.

But a few weeks ago, it was entirely different.

“It was terrifying,” Phillips said. “It was awful.”

In the days before last Christmas, her mom, Amanda Phillips, knew Jade had a cold.

“She was still running around and playing with her sister, so I didn’t really think too much of it,” Phillips said.

But by morning, Jade was unresponsive.

Her parents rushed her to the emergency room, where she was life-flighted to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Home.

“For about four hours it was really rough,” Phillips said. We weren’t really sure if we were going to lose her there. They actually had to have two crash carts in there.”

Dr. Theresa Czech met Jade on full life support in the pediatric ICU.

“At the time I met her she was in a coma,” Czech said.

Several weeks in the hospital recovering, Jade made progress, but a complication from the flu …

“Her pupils were basically the size of her entire eye, and she just had a blank look on her face and if you did anything around her eyes, she wouldn’t respond at all,” Phillips said.

… Jade was blind.

“She had a condition called acute Necrotizing Encephalopathy, secondary to influenza B,” Czech said.

“At that point, the neurologist was pretty honest with us, and we’re not really sure what this is going to be long term, what’s going to happen, so that was a really hard day,” Phillips said.

After each low point, Jade wound bounce back.

“She’s tough. She’s been really tough,” Phillips said.

And it happened again.

“After a couple weeks of being home, we noticed that she was able to see, she was following people around and putting the toilet seat down, she was giving high fives, and it was awesome. So it was so cool she was able to see again, it was the best thing,” Phillips said.

“She’s just such a bright cheerful girl who’s full of love, and I’m really happy that she’s made a good recovery,” Czech said.

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