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'Miracle baby' shows few signs of frozen ordeal

Erika Nordby
Erika is likely to keep all her fingers and toes  

EDMONTON, Alberta (CNN) -- A toddler who was declared clinically dead a month ago is surprising doctors with her "miracle" progress, her mother and her pediatrician said Friday as the girl playfully squirmed in her seat.

Leyla Nordby, the mother of 14-month-old Erika, told reporters she has been overwhelmed by the events since her daughter, wearing only a diaper, crawled out of their house in the middle of the night and froze.

Erika's body temperature was at 60 degrees when she was found in the morning, lying face-down in the snow. Doctors said her heart could have stopped for as long as two hours and her feet were frostbitten.

"She is a miracle baby," said her pediatrician, Dr. Nadreen Mian, at University Hospital.

He said Erika has so far displayed no neurological damage, and only her left foot remains a concern.

"Only last week we were thinking whether she would need some amputation, but she proved us wrong," he said. "She is a fighter, and she is working on her own, and there's a lot of improvement in her left foot since last week."

He said she has as much as a 90 percent chance that she will keep all of her toes.

Erika sat in her mother's lap Friday, wearing a pink and white dress and a bow in her hair. While her mother talked she made noises and played with every object she could get her hands on. The only evidence of her ordeal was a feeding tube in her nose.

Nordby said she has been overwhelmed by her daughter's recovery.

"It's the best feeling," she said. "At first, I thought of her maybe having to lose a toe or two, and learning to walk, and learning everything all over again, and people telling me she might have a limp. It's getting positive."

The ordeal has strengthened her faith, Nordby said, and caused only minor friction at home -- with Erika's young sister.

"She's really mad," her mother said. "She's confused. She just understands that Erika's here and can't play as much, can't go running around and things like that."

Canada 'miracle' baby survives subzero night outside
February 26, 2001

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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