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Child pronounced dead, later revived

Forty minutes after a toddler found face down in a swimming pool was declared dead at a hospital, a police investigator examining the body noticed the little girl was breathing. Doctors who rushed to the room Friday were able to revive 20-month-old Mackayala Jespersen, and Saturday morning, the little girl was in critical condition but alive, Sgt. Sean Fares said.

“IT WAS a very emotional moment for everyone,” said Sgt. Ron Gillett, a police spokesman. “We thought she didn’t make it and then she did. It was the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs.”

Mackayala’s mother had been at the home Friday morning when the little girl apparently slipped out the sliding glass door and into the back yard, where the pool was, authorities said.

Police officers who responded to a frantic 9-1-1 call performed CPR, and paramedics took over as she was taken to Anaheim Memorial Hospital, but doctors pronounced her dead about an hour after she had been found in the pool.

Forty minutes later, Det. Mike Kendrick was conducting a routine examination for the police report on the girl’s death when he noticed her chest billowing up and down, Fares said. He summoned doctors, who were able to revive the little girl.

“We don’t know if it is a miracle yet. She is doing as good as she can,” a man who identified himself as the girl’s grandfather told the Los Angeles Times for its Saturday editions. He said it was too early to know if Mackayala would recover.

Mark Langdorf, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, said it is not uncommon for toddlers to survive drownings after showing little or no signs of life, especially if the water is cold.

What was unusual in Mackayala’s case, he said, was the time involved.

“If you had said she came back to life after 10 minutes I would be surprised, but 40 minutes is just exceptional,” he said.

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