Rochester, N.Y. – Selah Clanton, 8, has doctors hopeful long after she plunged into the Erie Canal over the summer.
Initially in a deep coma, Selah is now making significant strides, which her parents believe is the result of an experimental treatment involving fish oil.
Selah fell into the canal in August near Genesee Valley Park.
She was strapped into a double stroller with her brother, Sam.
Her father, Jon Clanton, had turned away for a moment before the stroller rolled down the canal path and into the water.
Doctors knew Sam would survive, but expressed doubts about Selah, whose brain had been deprived of oxygen for around 30 minutes.
“The doctor told me quite bluntly your daughter was not going to live through the day,” said Yvonne Clanton, Jon’s wife.
Jon and Yvonne had adopted Selah from Ukraine along with another young girl.
The two were well-prepared to work with the girls’ mental and physical disabilities.
The family had driven up to Rochester from their Florida home for a special medical appointment.
Shortly after Selah was rushed to the hospital, she was given an innovative therapy that lowered her body temperature.
Yvonne believes that therapy saved her life, but her relief was soon flattened by Selah’s inactivity and wavering health.
“You get to rock bottom and you ask, 'Can’t anybody see some glimmer of something?'” Jon said.
That glimmer came from the news.
Yvonne saw a piece on CNN in which a few people came out of comas after a special treatment involving fish oil.
The doctors at Golisano Children’s Hospital agreed to give it a go.
After the treatment began, Selah began to show signs of recovery, like holding her head up by herself and displaying emotion.
“Today, I walked in the room and her head came up toward me,” Yvonne said. “She’s not a body in the bed anymore.”
Selah’s doctor, Barbara Asselin, says Selah is still technically in a coma and cannot conclude that fish oil is behind the progress, but does find the potential link intriguing.
“I’m very interested to continue to follow the results,” Dr. Asselin said.
Throughout this whole ordeal, the Clantons and their four other children have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House, hoping to someday soon travel back to Florida, with Selah.