May 022012

Caleb Teodorescu slept in his hospital room, surrounded by no fewer than a dozen teddy bears, balloons and a toy truck taller than his 2-year-old self.

“He looks remarkable considering what happened to him,” said Dr. Budi Wiryawan, a pediatric intensivist at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale.

On Nov. 25, Caleb had been rushed to the hospital in critical condition, not breathing and without a discernible pulse. He had been considered dead for about half an hour, after apparently riding his scooter into the family pool.

Little more than a week later, doctors feel confident Caleb will be able to return home soon, after making an astounding recovery. “It’s really a miracle,” Wiryawan said.

The day after Thanksgiving, Mihaela Teodorescu, 32, had gone to the bathroom while her four children played in the kitchen. She remembered listening to their chatter and noticing the sounds of her youngest had disappeared.

Returning, she asked her kids, “Where’s Caleb?” Her 6-year-old son reached the back door first. Mom, I think I see something in the pool.

Caleb was eight feet underwater, face down. Her oldest daughter dialed 911 as Mihaela dove in after Caleb.

A neighbor administered CPR, but it wasn’t until Caleb arrived at the hospital 28 minutes later that doctors restored his breathing and heartbeat.

Despite the turnaround, Mihaela could sense that the doctors were being cautious. Recovery from this type of trauma, if at all, could take 6 to 12 months, they told her. He could remain sedated for up to a month.

Over the next several days, gifts and prayers poured in for the Teodorescus from their friends, their church, even their native Romania. Caleb responded positively to diagnostic tests the doctors gave him. To their surprise, his heart, lungs and brain seemed to be doing fine.

He was taken off of his ventilator and began to breathe on his own.

Exactly one week after the accident, Caleb looked up at his father, grabbed his face, and spoke again for the first time since the incident.

“Nose,” he said.

On Saturday, doctors pulled Caleb off of intravenous nutrition. He walked again and even rode a small tricycle through the hospital halls. He spent the rest of the day napping and squirming in his mother’s arms, babbling and smiling as she held him.

Doctors are confident that, by Monday, Caleb will be able to go home, where the Teodorescus are installing a pool cover.

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