updated 11/26/2004 8:45:53 AM ET 2004-11-26T13:45:53

A 19-month-old girl who suffered severe burns on her face and body when she stumbled into a 5-gallon vat of hot soup was released from the hospital Thursday and her doctors predicted she would fully recover.

Clutching a Mickey Mouse balloon on a string and accompanied by her parents, Maria Fernanda Medina emerged from the burn center at Sherman Oaks Hospital, where she spent the last 3½ weeks recovering from burns over 30 percent of her body.

The toddler was covered except for her face, which bore slight scars and a raw pink hue on her cheeks.

“She was in critical condition for a good part of her hospital stay,” said Dr. Alexander Majidian, a cosmetic surgeon and burn specialist. “There was a good possibility she was not going to survive.”

Maria faces lengthy physical therapy and will likely have scars that may require additional  surgery, said Dr. Matt Young, a burn surgeon and pediatrician. “Otherwise, (she) should have a happy, normal life and we’re happy for that,” he said.

“Thank God my daughter is fine,” said Maria’s mother, Virginia Acevedo.

Acevedo told a television station after the Oct. 30 incident that the family had placed the pot of soup on the floor during a party so that it would be easier to serve.

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