After 31 days in the hospital, Nicole Marlin finally came home Friday.
“We wanted her home so bad,” said Melinda Moulton, mother to the 2-year-old girl who spent almost an hour underwater in late February. “I think it will make her a lot better if she’s around her family.”
Nicole Marlin was visiting her uncle’s home north of Wolf Lodge Bay when she was swept into flooding Stella Creek. She had no vital signs when a family friend pulled her from underneath two feet of icy water.
Doctors at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane 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 near drowning.
Nicole’s family brought the toddler home to Coeur d’Alene on Friday morning, where she lives with her father, aunt and mother.
“It’s very stressful but wonderful at the same time,” said Angelique Marlin, Nicole’s aunt.
Although the young girl does open her eyes and breathe on her own, she has remained in a semi-coma state, her mother said.
“It’s just kind of touch and go,” said Angelique Marlin.
Nicole’s eyes are rarely able to focus; she requires a feeding tube and sometimes needs to have oxygen supplied to her.
But Nicole’s mother and aunt said having the toddler at home Friday seemed to help. “It seems like she’s getting more focus in there,” Angelique Marlin said.
Members of the toddler’s family spent a lot of time preparing for the homecoming. They had ripped up the carpet in the girl’s room and scrubbed down the walls to make the bedroom sterile, Moulton said.
The experience has been difficult both psychologically and financially for the family.
Angelique Marlin estimates the girl’s hospital bills are more than $200,000. They have no health insurance, she said.
Those wishing to help Nicole Marlin can make donations to a trust fund in her name at First Security Bank.
About $700 has been donated so far.
“We wouldn’t have gotten her home without that support,” Angelique Marlin said.
xxxx Donations Those wishing to help Nicole Marlin can make donations to a trust fund in her name at First Security Bank.