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Toddler Found Dead In Snow Drift Recovering With PM-Cold-Citrus, Bjt

December 28, 1990

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Brittany Eichelberger is a little hoarse, her lungs are congested and she may lose the tips of her fingers and toes to frostbite.

But her mother couldn’t be happier.

Doctors say the 3-year-old girl was alert and well Thursday, three days after she was found frozen and clinically dead in a snowdrift outside her mobile home in Elkins, W.Va.

″At this point, she looks pretty normal,″ said Dr. Shekhar Venkataraman, the girl’s doctor at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she was in serious condition.

Brittany was breathing and eating on her own and is expected to be released from Children’s within two weeks. It will be some time, though, before doctors determine if there’s been any brain damage, he said.

″When we first took her to the hospital, I didn’t think she had a chance because she just looked so bad,″ said Brittany’s mother, Melinda Eichelberger, 20. ″Now, she’s fighting with the nurses, telling them to get away.″

Doctors estimated the blond, blue-eyed toddler was outside for two to three hours, dressed only in a T-shirt and underwear in 27-degree weather.

Her body temperature dropped to 74 degrees, causing her heart to stop - apparently minutes before her mother found her, Venkataraman said. He said her heart probably stopped at 80 degrees.

Without oxygen, the cold helped preserve her brain, the doctor said.

A neighbor, Paul Owens, began heart and lung resuscitation until medics arrived. Doctors at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins continued revival techniques for 3 1/2 hours until Brittany’s temperature began to rise and her heart began to beat.

Doctors also warmed the little girl immediately, both externally with warm blankets and lights and internally with a warm saline solution pumped into her stomach.

She was flown to Pittsburgh on Monday evening. Her mother said Brittany was able to speak to her on Christmas.

″Her voice was real hoarse, but I was excited. I was afraid she wasn’t going to be able to talk,″ Ms. Eichelberger said. ″She says ‘no,’ ‘mommy,’ ‘get,’ and ‘stop.’ ″

″It was the best Christmas I’ve had in all these years,″ said Ms. Eichelberger’s fiance, Steve Robinson, 21.

In Rockford, Ill., doctors Thursday decided against amputating the frostbitten legs of a 2 1/2 -year-old girl left in a relative’s car for 17 hours on Christmas night in sub-zero weather.

Kandy Shoulders was in fair condition at Rockford Memorial Hospital, hospital spokeswoman Laurie Miller said. The child’s mother, Stephanie Shoulders, said she was left in her grandmother’s car by accident.

″I thought she was in bed at my mother’s house and my mother thought she was at my house,″ Ms. Shoulders said. ″Everybody feels sick, but it was completely an accident.″

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