Home Health News An Iowa girl was blinded and almost killed by the flu. Now, she can see again. – USA TODAY

An Iowa girl was blinded and almost killed by the flu. Now, she can see again. – USA TODAY

6 min read


DES MOINES, Iowa – An Iowa girl blinded after complications from the flu has regained her eyesight months after she nearly died in the hospital, her mother says.

Jade DeLucia, 4, spent Christmas fighting to survive after a case of the flu hospitalized her and caused seizures and swelling in her brain that blinded her.

But weeks after leaving the hospital, Jade can see again.

“She was following people around, she was giving high fives, and it was awesome,” her mother Amanda Phillips told KCRG-TV.

Phillips told CNN that family members noticed Jade had regained her sight when she walked to the bathroom by herself without touching the walls. Her family then asked her where he uncle was, and she walked toward him.

More on Jade: Flu blinds, nearly kills 4-year-old girl: ‘There were no warning signs,’ mom says

“From there, it was almost an instant thing,” Phillips told CNN. “She’s doing really good.”

Just a couple months ago, Jade’s family wasn’t sure if the young girl would survive the illness, let alone see again.

At 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve, the girls’ father, Stephen, went to wake her and her sister and found Jade unresponsive. Jade had felt sick for a few days with a low-grade fever and a runny nose, but nothing that caused alarm.

“It was a flip of a switch; there were no warning signs,” Phillips said in January.

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The family rushed Jade to Covenant Medical Center, where she tested positive for the flu while in the emergency room. Jade received a flu shot in March of 2019 but wasn’t vaccinated this season. A nurse treating Jade asked Phillips and her husband whether they were sure their daughter wasn’t faking. A few minutes later, Jade had a seizure. Hospital staff used a crash cart to revive her.

Phillips said it took about four hours to stabilize her daughter enough that she could be flown to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

“It was terrifying. I thought we were going to lose her,” she said.

The episodes of seizure-like shaking continued. After four days, doctors said influenza had traveled to her brain, causing swelling.

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“We could have lost her so many times, and with the brain damage that we were seeing on the MRI scan of her brain, we didn’t think any part of her was really going to come back,” Phillips said.

Phillips said at the time that doctors told her Jade may regain her sight in three to six months. Still, Phillips said she was just happy to have her daughter home.

Dr. Theresa Czech at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital told KCRG-TV that Jade has since made “a good recovery.”

“She’s such a bright, cheerful girl who’s full of love,” the doctor told the TV station.

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