Girl's recovery from head injury called 'amazing'

LORAIN, Ohio (AP) - When 5-year-old Emily Mace was brought to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, she was in a coma.

Now she's going home healthy. And everyone involved in her recovery said that's nothing short of amazing.

Emily was playing outside on Nov. 8 when strong winds snapped off a tree branch that struck her in the head, fracturing her skull. Paramedics called for a helicopter to take her to Rainbow, where a CAT scan revealed two blood clots. Doctors removed the clots and repaired the fracture during surgery.

"We weren't promised anything," about her recovery, said Emily's mother, Lori Mace.

Emily came through the surgery with no problems. She went home Saturday and plans to return to her kindergarten class in two weeks.

Dr. Alan Cohen, Rainbow's chief of pediatric neurosurgery, said Emily had a rare injury because she had blood clots on both sides of her brain.

He also said that Emily could have died before even getting to the hospital. She had blood clots outside her brain, which Cohen said compress the brain while expanding because there is no room inside the skull.

"It's one of those cases where it's a happy story. Within a week she's gone home," Cohen said Saturday. "Neurologically, she's fine."

Emily's father, Brian Mace, said it was one of his daughter's "neck-breaking" hugs that was the turning point for him. Emily hugged him Thursday for the first time since the accident.

"As soon as she gave me that, I knew she was back to normal life again," he said. "It's amazing."

Now, the Maces look forward to having their daughter back.

"She's up and walking and playing and eating," Lori Mace said. "She's reading books, walking around and playing Go Fish. Doing everything that a normal 5-year-old does, but at a slower rate and taking more naps."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)