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Young Girl Continues Death-Defying Recovery From Severe Hypothermia

January 20, 1985

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) _ Gifts and donations are pouring in for Megan Birmingham, the 3-year-old girl who nearly died from the cold after being put out of car, and doctors Sunday upgraded her condition from fair to good.

When brought to the Olathe Community Hospital on Thursday suffering severe hypothermia, the Lenexa, Kan., girl was described as clinically dead with no heartbeat and a body temperature 30 degrees below normal.

Young Megan was found semi-frozen early Thursday morning by a sheriff’s deputy. Police said she had been abandoned by her 31-year-old mother, Jane Birmingham.

Debbie Cason, director of community relations at the hospital, said doctors took Megan off intravenous feedings Sunday and returned her to a regular diet as she continued her steady improvement.

Megan began physical therapy treatments Saturday to combat the frostbite that has temporarily paralyzed her extremities. Ms. Cason said the treatments consisted chiefly of whirlpool baths and attempts to wiggle her fingers and toes.

Megan does have feeling in her toes and fingers, Ms. Cason said.

Doctors have said it will be months before they know the extent of damage inflicted by the cold.

Authorities have not said what their investigation of the incident has found. Johnson County District Attorney Dennis Moore said he would decide early this week what action, if any, to take against the mother.

Moore would not say whether Mrs. Birmingham, who is at the Shawnee Mission Medical Center, was being treated for a physical or mental ailment.

Ms. Cason said Sunday that Megan’s father, Charlie Birmingham, has been with his daughter almost continuously since the girl was brought to the hospital.

″I’m just glad she’s alive and doing about as good as new,″ the father said Saturday. ″I just want to give our thanks to everybody for all the love and prayers that have been given out to her.″

The Kansas City-area community’s response to the young girl’s ordeal has been tremendous, said Ms. Cason. Toys, flowers and get-well cards have flooded the hospital since Friday, she said.

An Overland Park, Kan., bank has established a fund to help pay for Megan’s care and medical expenses, and the board of directors of the Kansas City Boat Show will donate all attendance receipts taken in Tuesday.

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