Patients & Visitors

When Only One Hospital Will Do


To look at Maggie today you’d never know her young life nearly ended before it could even truly begin. But that’s what happened on February 22, 2009-- just hours after being born, Maggie stopped breathing. CPR saved her life, but her brain had been deprived of oxygen for a long time — a very long time. Her fragile body remained unconscious through a series of seizures.

“I used to think all hospitals were the same. But if not for Phoenix Children’s, Maggie may never have regained consciousness.”  - Maggie's mom

A Lifesaving Therapy

Maggie’s official diagnosis was Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), caused by prolonged oxygen deprivation to the brain. The consequences can be devastating, ranging from mental deficits to Cerebral Palsy to severe or even fatal brain damage. Fortunately, the doctor treating Maggie that morning knew of a new technology being used to treat HIE and there was only one hospital in the state where it was available: Phoenix Children’s Hospital. To be most effective, treatment for HIE must begin within six hours of the incident. Every second counted.

Maggie was airlifted to Phoenix Children’s, where Dr. Cristina Carballo immediately started a unique cooling therapy that had been proven to slow or even reverse the cascading effects of brain damage. The talented staff at the Phoenix Children’s NICU monitored Maggie’s progress using technology that allows precise adjustments to the treatment.

72 Agonizing Hours

They waited. They watched. They hoped against hope. And then an amazing thing happened: Maggie woke up. Not only that, she showed no signs of brain damage whatsoever. “Maggie’s physician, Dr. Carballo, was outstanding,” says mom Kristin. “She was so patient. I must have asked the same question a thousand times and everyone there was so kind to me. I had to go home at night and you wouldn’t think you could feel comfortable leaving your child there, but I did.”

Like the overwhelming majority of children treated in Phoenix Children’s Neuro-NICU, Maggie made a full recovery. Today she is happy, healthy and has absolutely no adverse effects from her HIE. Her favorite activities include riding her bike, playing with dolls and of course, torturing her brother. “We are forever thankful to PCH. I can’t imagine if she hadn’t had access to this technology. There is no doubt in my mind Phoenix Children’s Hospital gave our daughter quality of life,” says Kristin.


Watch Maggie's Video

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