A 2-year-old girl died Wednesday, six months after she survived an hour in the frigid waters of a flooding North Idaho Creek.
Nicole Marlin died at about 3 a.m. at Sacred Heart Medical Center from an infection.
“She’s been fighting for the last six months,” said Angelique Marlin, the toddler’s aunt. “I think she was just tired of fighting.”
Nicole was visiting her uncle’s home north of Wolf Lodge Bay on Feb. 20 when she was swept into Stella Creek by rushing flood waters.
She wasn’t breathing and had no pulse when a family friend pulled her from 2 feet of icy water an hour later.
She was flown to Spokane where doctors brought her back to life by performing a cardiopulmonary bypass. It was the first time such an operation has been used in the Inland Northwest to revive a small child from drowning.
After 31 days in the hospital, Nicole came home. She stayed at her aunt’s Coeur d’Alene house with her father and grandmother.
Although she suffered brain damage from being under water for so long, Nicole appeared to be improving, Angelique Marlin said.
The toddler grew more alert, her eyes would focus and follow objects, Marlin said. She could stand with help.
“We progressed a long way and then she just got sick,” Marlin said. The 2-year-old’s health deteriorated during the last two months. Eventually, she needed surgery on her stomach, Marlin said.
On Sunday, Nicole had a fever of 105. Her aunt took her to Kootenai Medical Center. On Tuesday she was moved to Sacred Heart Medical Center, where she died four hours later, a hospital spokesman said.
“She got some type of an infection that just caused her systems to shut down,” Angelique Marlin said.
Nicole Marlin left behind three brothers. Her family is struggling to deal with the toddler’s death, after months of thinking she would survive.
“She was absolutely beautiful in every way,” said Angelique Marlin.
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