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Dominican Child Flown to Michigan for Burn Treatment Dies

April 8, 1987

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ A 10-year-old Dominican girl pulled by her dog from a downed power line died Wednesday, a day after she was flown here for treatment of burns that covered 80 percent of her body.

Aridania Altagarcia Rivas Almanza was pronounced dead at about 1 p.m. at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, said Dona Baird, area coordinator for Heal the Children, a private, non-profit organization.

The girl died of septic shock, an overwhelming infection as a result of her burns, according to John Turck, spokesman for the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Doctors resuscitated her after she suffered two cardiac arrests Tuesday night in Mott’s intensive care unit, Turck said, but they could not revive her after a third arrest.

The girl clung to life for more than 30 days under primitive conditions in a hospital in the Dominican Republic, and arrived Tuesday at Willow Run Airport aboard a U.S. Coast Guard jet that was arranged by Heal the Children.

The organization, based in Spokane, Wash., provides medical service to children around the world.

The girl’s only hope for survival was being brought to the United States, Baird said, adding that the hospital had agreed to treat Aridania at no cost.

Aridania was walking to school when she stepped on a power line near a construction project in Salcedo in the northern part of her Caribbean island homeland.

″Her dog jumped up and grabbed her by the neck and pulled her off the power line,″ Baird said. The dog was killed.

The child was taken to a hospital in Santiago with burns over 80 percent of her body. Surgeons amputated her right arm, Baird said.

″There just simply aren’t a lot of medical facilities there,″ she said. ″They’ve done what they could, thinking there is no way the child could live. But after she hung on for 30 days, she proved to the doctors she was a real strong fighter, and the doctors cried for help.″

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