Sarasota girl nearly dies days after inhaling pool water; mom’s hunch may have saved her life

Author: Garin Flowers / WTSP
Published: Updated:

Four-year-old Elianna is happy to be home. Her mom, Lacey Grace, says a freak accident last Saturday made her sick. But the root of the problem was slow to surface, according to WTSP.

It happened at her grandparents’ home down the street from hers in Sarasota.

“She was just playing in the pool. We were all playing, it was a bunch of us. We were all just playing taking the noodle and blowing water in each other’s faces and then she just happened to put her mouth on it the same time somebody else put their mouth on the other end and it all went down. She immediately vomited, so we were thinking okay good, it came up,” Lacey said.

Video after the incident shows Elianna was quickly back to normal.

Even the next day, she was fine. Monday, she caught a fever. Tuesday, it continued. So on Wednesday, a doctor in the family recommended they get her checked out.

“Went from there to the urgent care, which was about five minutes and in that five minutes, her skin turned purple, her heart rate was through the roof, her oxygen level was dropping. The doctor came right in and just said, ‘I don’t know where the nearest ER is’ because he’s new to the area, but he said, ‘You have to get to it right away.’”

Lacey always had an idea what was wrong. A year earlier, she read an article about a Texas boy – the same age as Elianna – who died from what’s called secondary drowning, or ‘dry drowning.’ It’s when you inhale water through the mouth or nose and it gets into the lungs.

Quick-thinking doctors helped save Elianna.

“I was crying, she was crying, I called my husband crying,” Lacey said.

“There was two doctors that told me that, you know, thank God you brought her in because when her oxygen level was dropping in the hospital, she looked, she was sleeping, she looked like an angel. She didn’t look like she was struggling whatsoever.”

Fresh out of the hospital, Elianna is taking antibiotics. The long week has her easily getting sleepy and she still isn’t eating yet. But she’s enjoying her new toys and on the road to a full recovery – something her parents are grateful for.

“If you think something is off, I encourage you to get them checked out. Best case, they’re gonna say, ‘Your kid’s OK, something that’ll pass.’ And, worst case, they’re gonna say, ‘You need to get to the nearest ER immediately.’”

Lacey believes little Frankie from Texas is her angel. Without his story, she wouldn’t have known what to do.

She posted her story to Facebook, hoping to reach another family that might face the same issue in the future. It has been shared more than 37,000 times.

“He passed away after seven days and she was on day four so it was just, I don’t know what would’ve happened if we waited.”

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