'Miracle Girl' Injured in Maine Storm Returns Home
The Massachusetts girl impaled when a tree fell on her family's tent at a Lebanon, Maine, campground earlier this month has made a stunning recovery and returned home Thursday night (Aug. 26), Foster's Daily Democrat reported.
Emily Malewitz, an 11-year-old from Millis, Mass., was able to sleep in her own bed for the first time in weeks after being discharged from the hospital on Thursday, according to Assistant Lebanon Rescue Chief Jason Cole.
Emily suffered critical injuries after a freak thunderstorm swept through the Flat Rock Bridge Family Resort on Aug. 9. Within minutes, the storm featuring winds up to 60 mph took down numerous trees around the campground, including one that flattened the girl's family's tent.
Six people were in the tent. Emily was the most seriously injured and had to be rushed to Maine Medical Center in Portland for an emergency surgery. During surgery, doctors removed a 10- to 12-inch stick that was lodged within an inch of her heart and other pieces of bark from her body.
The girl was finally able to leave Maine Medical Center at around 1 p.m. Thursday. It was initially expected she would spend a few days at Children's Hospital Boston to meet with plastic surgeons who will complete work on a wound on her back, but by 9:45 p.m., Cole reported she was able to return home with her family.
"We are very excited for the family," said Rescue Chief Samantha Cole. "We have had an amazing time learning about Emily, her family and friends and the entire Millis community. Emily is an example of a miracle and why so many of us volunteer to help our community by being on the Rescue Department."
The tragic incident was overshadowed by an impressive showing of support from the local community. Lebanon Rescue set up a fund to help the family with medical costs and donations totaled more than $6,000, Jason Cole said.
It looks to be a lasting relationship, as Cole said he has been in touch with family and friends in Millis who want to arrange a softball game between the two communities. Cole said they are working within the fifth-grade classes at school to teach about the new "sister" communities.
"I have been amazed reading through the hundreds of e-mails and cards to see how great the people of Millis are. The outcome is better than we could have imagined. When I arrived at the scene just minutes after the accident happened, I never thought she would be doing this well this fast," Cole said.
Cole said Malewitz's father truly saved her life when he managed to lift part of the tree off his daughter to allow her to breathe until rescue crews arrived.
Samantha Cole indicated she looks forward to going to Millis to visit the Malewitz family when Emily is fully recovered, while Jason Cole said Emily may return to Lebanon, Maine, to meet those who helped save her life.