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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Legal Victory for Sick Girl; Chrysler Refuses Recall

Aired June 5, 2013 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

We have breaking news tonight . A little girl's battle for a lifesaving lung transplant just got some help, and not from a doctor, but from a judge. You're going to see and hear her reaction when the ruling came in.

Also ahead tonight, only on CNN, exclusive video showing the first lady, Michelle Obama, handling a heckler. The question is, how did she handle the heckler and what exactly happened? The White House gave her some high marks. Watch and decide for yourself.

And, later, the moment that you helped make possible, our viewers, a hero today reunited with a woman whose life she helped save in the Boston bombing.

We begin, though, tonight with breaking news, a story CNN has been following closely, a 10-year-old's battle to live. Her name is Sarah Murnaghan and cystic fibrosis has destroyed her lungs. Now, without a transplant, her doctors say she will die possibly within weeks.

Sarah has been waiting for more than 18 months for donor lungs from another child. It's a fact that pediatric lungs are scarce, scarcer than lungs from adult donors. And here is another hard fact. Children younger than 12, including Sarah, no matter how sick they are, face a steep hurdle when it comes to getting adult lungs.

The current transplant rules prevent them from being prioritized on the waiting list for adult lungs. Sarah's parents have filed a lawsuit to change that policy. And just a short time ago, a federal judge in Pennsylvania signed a court order removing that hurdle for Sarah for the next 10 days.

And here is exclusive video of Sarah reacting to the news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: She's a very strong little girl.

Jason Carroll joins me now. Jason, so what does ruling exactly by the court mean? Is this the last roadblock for her to get a new lung?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Anderson, it may be the last legal hurdle for Sarah Murnaghan. But certainly she has a lot of challenges still ahead of her.

But, first, it's this legal challenge, and now that this judge has lifted that and said, you know what, children like Sarah should be put on this adult list, they should have access to adult donors as well -- and, in fact, let me read you part of the order here, because I think it really spells out.

It says "to immediately cease application of the under-12 rule as to Sarah Murnaghan so that she can be considered for receipt of donated lungs from adults based on the medical severity of her condition."

So, Anderson, this is a huge legal, a huge emotional victory for the family, although the secretary of the Health and Human Services Department points out that there are still 40 other adults who are very sick in the region. This is a six-state region, approximately, that Sarah has to now compete with, with other sick adults, other sick children, approximately three children who are also sick who may also need a lung transplant.

But at least when it comes to this legal hurdle, at least for this next 10 days, she has crossed that hurdle. Now the problem is trying to find a match in time.

COOPER: But this only -- this exemption for kids only applies to her. So other kids who are in need of transplants, they're not able to get adult lungs.

CARROLL: But, potentially, when you listen to what her team is saying, what her family is saying, what her attorneys are saying, the implications here are very grand, because if a judge rules in this way, in this situation, it could quite possibly open the door for other children who are in a similar, desperate, critical situation as well.

COOPER: You talked about the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. Her parents had asked her to intervene yesterday. She essentially said her hands were tied in this case. Now, any response from her?

CARROLL: Well, we tried reaching out to Secretary Sebelius several times throughout the day. Yesterday, it was interesting. She attended a budget hearing in Washington, D.C., and, of course, all the questions turned to poor Sarah Murnaghan, her situation and what was being done.

From the secretary's point of view, she feels as though the guidelines are in some ways -- she feels her hands are tied, basically. She says -- and I'm going read you part of a quote of what she said yesterday. She said: "I suggest that rules are there because the worst of all worlds is if some individual picks who lives and who dies."

Sebelius also pointed out that she feels for the Murnaghan family, but she feels as though, rather than doing something right away without proper checks and balances, that might hurt people who are also sick and who are also on a list. So what she did was, she ordered a policy review, but Murnaghan's family basically saying we don't have time for a policy review. Something needed to be done now, and legally, at least for now, that's what they got.

COOPER: All right, Jason, thanks.

Obviously, this story has generated a lot of public support, a lot of people are rooting for Sarah tonight.

Her father, Fran Murnaghan, joins me now, along with her aunt, Sharon Ruddock.

First of all, Fran, how is Sarah doing today? How are you all doing?

FRAN MURNAGHAN, FATHER OF SARAH MURNAGHAN: We're doing well. Sarah has declined slightly in the last two days. But we're very excited with the news today that she will have the opportunity to be equally judged and have the opportunity to receive lungs.

COOPER: So what does today actually mean for Sarah? You say she has the opportunity to be equally judged. What exactly does that mean?

MURNAGHAN: So, from the very beginning, and anyone who is on the lung transplant list has to have allocated to them a lung allocation score.

So her score today is actually 78. So what the judge is allowing to happen today is allowing her to be on equal grounds with the other folks, the adults. So her score would actually be taken into account. So we have never, ever asked that Sarah get special attention or be placed in front of anyone more severe than her.

So if there is someone -- if there is another adult who is more severe, who has a higher lung allocation score, they will still get their lungs first. It's just now Sarah will have an opportunity to not have to wait for every adult, no matter what their score is, to pass the lung and then it be offered to the pediatric patients.

COOPER: Do you have any sense of what her chances of getting a donation are in the next 10 days?

MURNAGHAN: That's a very -- that's tricky question, because obviously for Sarah to get the opportunity to have the gift of life here, another family has to go through what would be probably their worst day in their life.

So it's impossible to really tell. What we do know is, over the last 18 months, we have gotten to know a lot of individuals across the nation who have had lung transplants. And we do know most of them, the majority of them, when they received their lung transplants, their lung allocation scores were actually in the mid-40s. So her score being 78 is extremely high.

SHARON RUDDOCK, AUNT OF SARAH MURNAGHAN: She's at the top of the list or very close to the top of the list, so it's highly likely that she will get lungs in the next 10 days.

COOPER: Have you heard -- has anyone in your family heard from Secretary Sebelius since today's ruling or at any point, really, during this process?

MURNAGHAN: Actually, my wife, Janet, spoke to the secretary last Thursday. And she had a short conversation with her. And at the time, she did seem quite compassionate.

And then on Friday, when she gave her ruling, we did receive an e-mail through someone at her office. We did request to speak to her, but we were told that she was busy and she could not speak to us. And then yesterday we were actually scheduled to speak to her at 1:30 Eastern time, but then her office had canceled that, and rescheduled for 3:30, which was then canceled and rescheduled for 5:30, which was then canceled and they said that they would see if she could speak to us today.

But we did not have the time for that. Every day is critical for us, and other children, too. We do not have the time to wait. So that's when we moved forward with the suit.

COOPER: I have talked to medical ethicists about this. And a number of them I have talked to said they don't really understand why kids wouldn't get priority, actually, for lungs, because kids have their whole lives ahead of them, and really can benefit hugely from being on equal par with adults.

RUDDOCK: Yes, unfortunately, the kids are put at the back of the line. So not only don't get let preference. They don't get equality. And that's what this has been about for us. We were stunned when we learned it and we can't believe it. And it's just not right.

And that's why we fought for Sarah and for other kids. So the ruling today applies for Sarah, but it's really -- there is another child at CHOP that it will probably apply to very quickly. And we think that, on Monday, the OPTN is having an emergency meeting to discuss the under-12 rule and hopefully decide to set it aside, we hope.

So we're hopeful that this will impact all children, that this is a first movement that they're making, and that it will impact all children.

COOPER: And, Fran, we saw Sarah's reaction to hearing this ruling today. Obviously, she is excited about it. What has this whole process been like for her? I cannot imagine the strength that she must have had, and must still have right now to endure all this.

MURNAGHAN: She's always -- I mean, she's always been a role model for me. I mean, she has had cystic fibrosis her whole life. She has struggled her whole life. And she always does it. She's so more mature than her age.

She knows that we have been just talking to the government and the media. She is not fully aware of all of the conversations we have had. So she understands that there has been a ruling that will help her hopefully get her lungs sooner rather than later. But she has always been -- I mean, she is so strong.

It's amazing when you get to speak to her how strong and positive she is.

COOPER: Well...

RUDDOCK: She's a fighter.

COOPER: Yes, she's a fighter, no doubt about it and will continue to be.

Fran, I know your wife is by Sarah's side right now. I know you will be right after this is done. I appreciate you being on tonight, Sharon as well. And we wish Sarah the best and all of the other kids out there and all the folks out there who need some sort of transplant. Thanks for being with us.

Let me know what you think about this on Twitter @AndersonCooper.

Next, we are going to take you to the flood zone, live pictures. You're seeing two of America's mightiest rivers doing an awful lot of damage. That's Alton, Illinois, right now.

Also, 360 investigates why the government could issue a recall for millions of Jeeps that they say could be deadly and the carmaker can actually say, no, thanks, we're not going to do that, nearly three million Jeeps, many of them bought especially to be family-safe.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Breaking news tonight where the Mississippi meets the Missouri River north of Saint Louis. Floodwaters that have already taken down levees and defeated other efforts to keep them in check might not be through yet.

360's Gary Tuchman is on the Mississippi in the town of Alton, Illinois. He's seen a lot there today.

Gary, explain where Alton is and what the situation is.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, right now, I'm in downtown Alton on the corner of State Street and Broadway. We're 15 miles north of the city of Saint Louis.

And this city's past, present and future are directly connected to the Mississippi River behind me, the Mississippi River, adjacent to the city, which is now in this city. And I'm walking through it, not just for exercise on this watery street, but to show you, this isn't a puddle, between my knees and my waist. And behind me, it's up to my shoulders.

This is a very serious flood situation here. The Mississippi River's flood stage here is 21 feet. This week, they reached 34 feet. It is the fifth-highest level ever in the history of Illinois and across the river in West Alton, Missouri, which is just two miles from here, lots of damage, lots of -- the mill is closed here. Businesses behind me are closed, and also a big moneymaker, their riverboat casino, is closed.

But this is not the worst they have ever seen. That was 20 years ago, the great flood of 1993. I was actually here in Alton covering it. I was a child then, relatively speaking. But it was much more serious, 42 feet. And that was the highest flood level they have ever had here in Alton.

So, so far, the most important news, no casualties whatsoever. But right now, they're waiting to see what happens. They expect these levels to go down. This really is a fascinating place, Alton, very historical. Back in 1858, the last Lincoln-Douglas debate was held here. And for those of you who are fans of the "Guinness Book of World Records," everyone knows this record. The tallest guy who ever lived, his name is Robert Wadlow. He was 8'11'' tall.

COOPER: His dad was the mayor.

TUCHMAN: He was born here and he's buried here.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: His dad was the mayor.

TUCHMAN: Exactly right. How did you know that, Anderson?

COOPER: I have friends in Alton. I have been there many times, actually.

(LAUGHTER)

TUCHMAN: That's really funny. Well, it's an historical town, but nothing more important to the people here than the Mississippi River. It's an economic engine and they're always scared of floods here and they have got a big one right now -- back to you.

COOPER: And there's a lot of beautiful little antique shops right near where you are that I hope -- you know, I hope the businesses there aren't flooded as well.

How much longer is it going to be before the waters are below the flood stage? Do we know?

TUCHMAN: Yes, we're doing a mathematical interpretation here, and it looks like it will be between eight and 10 days before it's below the 21-foot level.

But what's really important, it's at its highest point right now. It's not expected to get any higher than this. So, there is some damage, but it's nothing like it was 20 years ago.

COOPER: All right. Well, we wish everyone the best. Gary, appreciate it.

If you drive, we hope you pay attention to this next story, not just if you're a driver of one of the 2.7 million Jeeps that federal safety officials today said were unsafe, but any driver, because of the particular danger those officials say that the Jeeps present. It's pretty scary stuff.

But it comes with a twist, namely that Chrysler completely disagrees with the findings and says they have no plans to change or to recall the vehicles.

Here's Drew Griffin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This, federal regulators say, is not an isolated incident. A Jeep Grand Cherokee hit from behind catches fire, a 60-year-old man killed. It's also happening to Jeep Libertys, hit from behind and catching fire.

This 13-page letter sent to Chrysler from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 1993-2004 Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Libertys contain defects related to motor vehicle safety, and that the government is asking Chrysler to initiate a safety recall of these vehicles.

The danger? Fires. The letters detail an extensive investigation by the government with graphic pictures and, according to NHTSA, the government agency, the result has been tragic. There have been at least 32 fatal rear-impact crashes involving Grand Cherokees, the government writes Chrysler, resulting in 44 deaths, and at least five fatal-rear impact crashes involving the Liberty that have resulted in seven deaths.

NHTSA tells Chrysler, the Grand Cherokee and Liberty are poor performers. NHTSA says the Chrysler vehicles are twice as likely to burst into flames when compared to other vehicles in their same peer group. The problem, according to the government, is the integrity of the fuel tank system, which, when hit from behind, rupture, leak and lead to an eruption in flames.

Clarence Ditlow with the Center for Auto Safety has repeatedly reported to Chrysler on horrific accidents, where especially small children in the back seats of these vehicles are vulnerable.

CLARENCE DITLOW, CENTER FOR AUTO SAFETY: We have never seen a fire defect like this where children in child seats are being burned to death because the parents can't get them out of the vehicle fast enough after the rear impact that causes the fire. I mean, it's a horrible death. And if for no other reason alone, Chrysler should do a recall to save the kids. GRIFFIN: Chrysler's response to the recall request? In a word, no. In a rare move, the car company is basically denying all the research that has been done by the federal safety experts, releasing this white paper in response, stating the Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty "meet or exceed all applicable federal motor safety standards. The vehicles do not have any fuel tank design defects."

And on the conclusion that the Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty have a higher frequency of fires than other vehicles in its peer group, Chrysler says the government got its peer group wrong. "Chrysler group believes NHTSA used an incomplete and unrepresentative group of comparison vehicles to determine its peer group." And, no, Chrysler says, it will not recall the vehicles.

DITLOW: What it is, is really a corporate ego here. They have drawn a line in the sand, and they said we're not going to do a recall.

And, unfortunately, for Chrysler and the public, people are going to die in the meantime. But Chrysler's image is going to be damaged. People are going to stop buying Chrysler because they will think they're an irresponsible company.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, Drew, what happens now? The government says these vehicles are dangerous, wants them fixed, and Chrysler just says no?

GRIFFIN: That's what happened. The next move is with NHTSA now, this federal agency.

It could, Anderson, hold public hearings, make the findings public and then actually label these particular vehicles as defective, a somewhat damning label for Chrysler. I don't know what Chrysler is doing, quite frankly. When this has been tried in the past, the car companies, Anderson, never win.

COOPER: But what about -- I mean, there's 2.7 million people driving these Grand Cherokees and Jeep Libertys right now. What are they supposed to do?

GRIFFIN: That, I don't know. I'm glad I don't have one. You can either believe the government that says your vehicle is in danger of potentially fatal fires if it's struck from behind and then decide to keep either driving that or not driving that, or you could believe Chrysler, which is telling you, hey, nothing to worry about here. It's a very odd situation. And we don't have any resolution for the people who are driving these things.

COOPER: It's incredible. Drew, we will continue to follow this one. Thanks very much.

For more on the story, you can go to CNN.com.

Just ahead right now, the heckler and the first lady. Who got the best of this awkward moment? We're going to show you exclusive video, actually, of what happened.

Also tonight, an amazing story. You have got to stick around for this. A hero meets a survivor from the Boston bombings, Erika Brannock and the woman what helped -- that our viewers, that you helped locate, Amanda North, who sprang into action when the bombs went off in Boston, and she helped save Erika's life.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Raw Politics" tonight.

A crying baby briefly interrupted President Obama today as he was paying tribute to his outgoing national security adviser. The moment got laughs. No such luck last night when an activist tried to speak her piece when first lady Michelle Obama was speaking hers.

In a moment, you're going to hear from a bestselling biographer of the Obamas about what, if anything, her handling of the heckler says about her political savvy and her abilities out on the trail, but first an exclusive look at the incident, video you will only see here on CNN.

Here's Erin McPike.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are exclusive images of Michelle Obama last night, speaking at an exclusive fund- raiser hosted by a lesbian couple at their tony Washington, D.C., home. She was giving an impassioned speech on one of her favorite topics, children.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: They are counting on us to give them the chances they need for the futures they deserve.

MCPIKE: But one woman in the crowd wanted to talk about something else, gay rights.

It's hard to hear, but that's Ellen Sturtz. Sturtz is from the activist group GetEQUAL. She interrupts the first lady to ask her why the president hasn't signed an executive order that would bar a company that does business with the federal government from discriminating for sexual orientation or gender equity. It didn't go over well with Mrs. Obama or the crowd.

M. OBAMA: I don't care what you believe in, we don't -- wait, wait. One of the things that I don't do well is this.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

M. OBAMA: I can take the mike, or I'm leaving. You all decide.

AUDIENCE: No, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need your husband to sign this.

M. OBAMA: All right, you guys.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, please don't leave. No.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He doesn't understand.

MCPIKE: She made her way back to the podium to make her point.

M. OBAMA: So let me make the point I was making before. We are here for our kids.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Someone in a sense verbally got in her face, and she didn't like it.

MCPIKE: Lynn Sweet is the Washington bureau chief of the "Chicago Sun Times," and she's covered the Obamas for years.

SWEET: I think Mrs. Obama is very disciplined. She rarely goes off script. She rarely puts herself in a position where she could have something happen unexpected.

MCPIKE: The first lady's unscripted response was different than how her more practiced husband tends to handle hecklers, like he did just two weeks ago during a major foreign policy speech at National Defense University.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is part of free speech, is you being able to speak but also you listening. And me being able to speak.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCPIKE: A softer touch maybe than Michelle's tough talk, but today, the White House gave her performance a rave review.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's my personal opinion that she handled it brilliantly.

MCPIKE (on camera): President Obama has been saying for years that Michelle Obama is one tough cookie. But this fund-raiser was one of the first times that Americans really got to see it.

Erin McPike, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, few people know what makes the president and first lady tick better than my next guest. Jodi Kantor of "The New York Times" has written a book on it, "The Obamas." She joins us tonight.

Jodi, it's a pretty remarkable situation. I don't recall ever seeing a first lady being heckled before, and certainly the first lady's response was really interesting. What do you make of how she handled herself?

JODI KANTOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, the funny thing is, this has happened to Michelle Obama before, not in this role. But a few weeks after she started her job at University of Chicago, an event was heckled really over the same issue. It was about contractors for the hospital, in that case, minority contractors.

And she was not in charge of the event, but she actually took the initiative on her own and shut the hecklers down and told them she was willing to do business with them, but not if they were going to be rude and interrupt the event, and that -- her actions became kind of legend at the University of Chicago Hospital. So she has some experience in this area.

COOPER: That's really interesting. I had never heard that before.

But when it comes to being heckled, it obviously happens to the president with some regularity, to congresspeople. But is the first lady usually a target of that sort of protest? I mean, she doesn't make policy. It's not her decisions.

KANTOR: Pretty rarely.

And the other thing is that Michelle Obama has been a pretty big advocate of gay rights in this administration, which is what the heckler was complaining about. It's pretty well-known that she helped bring her husband to the decision to issue his support for gay marriage.

And so you can sort of see that between the lines in the exchange. You know, not only does she seem upset about being interrupted, but one reaction that both Obamas frequently have to critics from the left is to say, kind of, don't you know who you're talking to here? Don't you know that I have been fighting for you?"

COOPER: In your reporting on the Obamas, did you get a sense that the first lady actually enjoys the events that she's called upon to go to, the political events? You know, I mean, obviously, no one likes to be heckled. But generally speaking, campaign stops, fund- raising, are those things that she relishes?

KANTOR: I don't think there's anyone who's worked with Michelle Obama who thinks that she is a giant fan of the fund-raising circuit, that not what she has wanted to do since she was young was hit up donors for cash.

You know, people say that she does it with more conviction, that she's become more sure-footed at political events, that she was extremely motivated for her husband to win re-election. But you know, she's pretty honest in interviews about how politics was never her first choice of a way to spend her time.

COOPER: It's also interesting, because I've never seen somebody -- you know, often you'll see the president respond to hecklers or from the podium. But I've never seen somebody, you know, kind of get face-to-face with somebody like that, and certainly not a first lady.

KANTOR: Well, the way she turned the situation on its head was fascinating. She basically gave the crowd a choice. She said, "Only one of us is going to speak, either the heckler or me. Who do you want?"

So, of course, the crowd chose her. She was the person they had paid quite a lot of money to come hear speak. So even though she was clearly reacting very instinctually, you get the sense that she has witnessed and analyzed these situations before.

COOPER: And certainly seemed to deal with this one effectively. It's fascinating. Jodi, thanks so much for being on.

KANTOR: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, what do you think about it? We're talking about it on Twitter right now.

Just ahead, what do you say to the person who saved your life when you're finally reunited? A Boston bombing victim, Erika Brannock, and Amanda North were strangers when their paths crossed on that terrible day. Now they are friends forever with a unique bond. Their emotional reunion, coming up.

Also, Michael Jackson's 15-year-old daughter, Paris, rushed to a hospital after an apparent suicide attempt. What we're learning about this latest crisis for the Jackson family.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. The story you're about to see is not, strictly speaking, a good news story. It may, however, be the best story you see in a very long time.

For weeks, Erika Brannock wondered who helped save her life as she lay badly wounded near the Boston Marathon finish line on that terrible, terrible day. Who was her anonymous hero? Well, with your help last night, we identified and located her. Today, survivor and savior met. Here's Randi Kaye with a 360 follow-up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what someone looks like waiting to meet the person, a stranger, who saved their life.

ERIKA BRANNOCK, BOMBING SURVIVOR: I told my cousin last night that it's kind of like the night before Christmas, where you're so excited but nervous at the same time, and you can't sleep.

KAYE: Her name is Erika Brannock. Just two days ago, she left a hospital in Boston, the last victim of the Boston bombings to be discharged.

They were two strangers who met in a moment of terror at the finish line. Erika was gravely wounded in the bombing, losing one leg and breaking another. As she lay on the sidewalk in agony, she remembers this woman in the yellow sweater with the brown hair coming out of nowhere to help her. Her name is Amanda North. But Erika didn't know that at the time.

AMANDA NORTH, SAVED ERIKA'S LIFE: I do remember moving over and crawling over and reaching out to her, because she was conscious.

KAYE: Amanda was the first to hear Erika's screams. She saw Erika's lower left leg had been blown off, and yelled for help. Amanda took off her belt, which was used as a tourniquet. A photographer for the "Boston Globe" captured the moment.

When we visited with Erika on Monday, the day she was released from the hospital in Boston, we showed her the photo of the woman she so desperately wanted to find. Erika thought she'd said her name was Joan and she was from California.

BRANNOCK: That's Joan right there. And then she's holding my hand right there. And then this is my right leg.

KAYE: Monday night after our story aired on AC 360, we found Erika's Joan, who we now know is Amanda North. We arranged for her to fly from California to meet Erika in Baltimore, where she's in rehab. What did Erika think when her mom told her the good news?

BRANNOCK: She said, "Do you want to meet Joan tomorrow?" and I just -- I just started crying.

KAYE: Within 24 hours, the two were set to meet.

BRANNOCK: I really just want to thank her for helping me and, you know, being there for me and holding my hand the whole time.

KAYE (on camera): Are you a little nervous as we head inside here?

NORTH: You know, I really am. It's a strange thing, because in a way she's a stranger to me. But when you share things like this, you feel like you've known someone your entire life, so it's -- I'm looking forward to meeting her. But I'm a little nervous.

KAYE (voice-over): Moments later, raw emotion.

NORTH: Oh, my God. Look at you. Look at you.

BRANNOCK: I'm so glad we found you.

NORTH: I have thought about you every moment...

BRANNOCK: Me too.

NORTH: ... since the marathon. I didn't know how to get ahold of you or what had happened to you.

KAYE: Like old friends, the two exchanged gifts. Erika gave Amanda necklace with a dragonfly on it to match hers.

BRANNOCK: I wanted you to have one, too.

KAYE: Amanda brought Erika her favorite scarf.

NORTH: And I want you to just think of me whenever you wear this and know that I'm always there for you. This never goes away. We're friends for life.

BRANNOCK: We are. We're always going to be connected.

NORTH: Yes, we will. I'm never going to stop holding your hand, no matter what happens.

KAYE: Both suffered serious injuries.

BRANNOCK: They started wrapping my leg, so they have it wrapped up really tight.

KAYE: Including perforated ear drums. But today they laughed about getting each other's names wrong.

NORTH: You thought my name was Joan and I thought your name was Irene.

BRANNOCK: I know. I was telling so many people, I don't know how we could have gotten them so wrong. But it was so loud.

KAYE: Finally together, they relived that terrible day.

BRANNOCK: I had this horrible feeling that I was going to die. Like I could sense that something was really wrong. And right away, you came right up to me, and you grabbed my hand and you told me that you weren't going to let go. And you didn't.

NORTH: I felt like there was a reason I was there. I just felt this compulsion to go over to you.

KAYE: Erika's extended family all thanked Amanda for helping save Erika that day. But it was this moment between Amanda and Erika's mother, who had been given Erika's belongings at the hospital, that said so much.

CAROL DOWNING, ERIKA'S MOTHER: I was just thinking, I could be holding these and she wouldn't be here. And I'm so thankful for you that she's here.

KAYE: To Erika and her family, Amanda is a hero. But Amanda just wants to be known as a friend, a new friend, for life.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Baltimore.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Amanda North joins us now. I -- it's so great to see you. That -- I haven't cried on a story in a long time. And I know you're crying, as well. What was today like?

NORTH: I wanted to thank you so much, Anderson, for the chance to have us come together like that. I didn't think it was going to happen. The last I saw of Erika, she was lying gravely wounded on a sidewalk in Boston. And there was a swarm of emergency responders trying to help her and carried her away, and that's the last I saw of her.

COOPER: What I think is so amazing about what you did and what other people did, as well, and Carlos, the guy who's in that photograph, did for Jeff Bauman, is I mean, you're not a trained doctor or anything. You just saw somebody in need, and you went and -- and you saved a life.

NORTH: Well, I didn't think of it that way at the time. I -- I honestly felt like some other person took possession of me. And I just was drawn to her, and I did -- I did what I could. I couldn't do much, but I knew that I just wanted to keep her alert and conscious until people could come who could really help her, and I held her hand.

COOPER: You had every reason for not doing something. Your daughter was running in the race; you had no idea what had happened to her. And even for a long time while you were helping Erika and afterward, you had no idea what had happened to your daughter, and yet you did something for somebody else in your time of need.

NORTH: Well, I just -- I didn't even think about it. I wish I could say it was conscious, but there was a person who needed my help, and it was the reason I was there. I felt that I was meant to be there, to help her, and thank God I did. Thank God she's here to talk to us today.

COOPER: Yes. What did you say to her when she was down on the ground, and what did you do?

NORTH: I told her to hang on, and I told her help was coming, and I called for help. And I said, "Just hold onto me, and I'm not going to let you go."

COOPER: And one of the things you said to her today is "I'm always going to be holding your hand."

NORTH: That's right. And, you know, I was thinking about it today, and it's almost like there was an umbilical cord between us, and since then every day I've thought about her, and I've prayed for her and wondered what happened to her. And I've tried to pour energy into her. I had no idea what happened, but I felt that if I could keep channeling some energy into her, maybe it would get to her.

And I see her today, and, you know, I see her doing so well and being so strong and recovering so well. COOPER: You and I were talking right before we went on-air, and I think one of the things you said that really struck me is that you didn't want to kind of contact the media, because you were afraid of this becoming about you, and you didn't want it to be about you. And so you wanted to see her all this time. Did you know her name was Erika by this point?

NORTH: No, I didn't. I...

COOPER: You still thought her name was Irene.

NORTH: Yes.

COOPER: And that was because you had perforated eardrums, and she had perforated eardrums...

NORTH: Exactly.

COOPER: ... so she thought your name was Joan, and you thought she was Irene.

NORTH: Right. Exactly. So I had no way to pursue her. I thought -- I did think about contacting the media, but I thought it would be misinterpreted, and so the fact that you came and found me was a miracle, and I'm so glad that you were able to do that and reunite us.

COOPER: What is it -- your daughter, by the way, was OK.

NORTH: Yes, you know, it was a shocking experience for her. She was between the two bombs when they exploded, so she was very close. And we had, the day before, decided where I was going to be standing, right below the flag, so she knew that that's where I was, and she saw the fireball go up into the air and knew that's where I was standing. So I don't think that's a memory that will ever be erased from her mind.

COOPER: And you used to have longer hair, but your hair was actually singed by the bomb, right?

NORTH: It was. So I was facing to my right up the street to see my daughter come and so the right side of my head was facing the explosion and it got singed. And became -- well, you can see in the pictures, very much like a Brillo pad and bits of the material from the bomb became fused to my hair.

COOPER: Really?

NORTH: Yes. So I cut it off and I saw that Erika had shorter hair now, too. So I think a number of us, that's what we did.

COOPER: And Erika gave you the T-shirt you're wearing.

NORTH: She did. And she actually gave me this lovely necklace, and this is a dragonfly, which she has chosen as her symbol because it stands for strength and resilience. And I would also say loveliness, and she is just a beautiful person. And so she gave me this to remember her by, as well as the shirt, which I wear proudly. And I really will be thinking about her.

COOPER: Has this changed your life? I mean, has it -- has it -- it's something you still think about all the time.

NORTH: All the time. Yes, in only the most positive ways. I was so fortunate myself to walk away as well as I did. So the things I think about are gratitude and the gratitude for the many people who helped me on the scene in the days that followed. Just total strangers who came out of nowhere and helped me and the people in the hospital, and even -- our government officials. They were real human beings reacting to a problem.

So gratitude and gratitude for family and my friends, and my co- workers. And really also a sense of purpose. Seeing that we don't know what's going to happen in our lives, and that we need to really understand what our passions are, and what our gifts are, and apply them to something important.

COOPER: Our time is short, and things can change in the blink of an eye.

NORTH: Exactly.

COOPER: It's such an honor to meet you. I'm so glad that our viewers helped locate you.

NORTH: Thank you so much for having me here tonight.

And Erika, I love you.

COOPER: Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it. Amanda North, amazing.

One last thing. Friends have set up a fund to help Erika pay her medical bills, which are substantial. If you want to help, just go to W-W-W dot TheBrannock -- that's B-R-A-N-N-O-C-K -- The BrannockFund -- one word -- dot com. Again, that's www.TheBrannockFund.com. Or you can check the link at AC360.com.

Not only that, but Amanda North's daughter, Lily (ph), is running in next year's marathon and raising money in Erika's honor. It's great. That's really cool.

Just ahead, 15-year-old Paris Jackson, earlier, a horrible development for the Jackson family, rushed to a hospital, an apparent suicide attempt, according to a source close to the family. Details on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight the Jackson family is dealing with another crisis. Paris Jackson, the 15-year-old daughter of the late Michael Jackson, was apparently rushed to a hospital early this morning after cutting one of her wrists. That's according to sources close to the Jackson family.

Miguel Marquez joins me now live from Los Angeles.

We're getting some more details about what exactly happened, why she went to the hospital. What do we know?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The bottom line at the moment, Anderson, is that she is doing fine, according to a family lawyer. We know that she was taken to the hospital for a cut to one of her wrists and also a possible overdose. There are some reports that she took several pills of Motrin last night.

A family spokesperson refers to this as a cry for help and not a serious suicide attempt. But she is in a facility at the moment. She does seem to be doing good.

Just a few days ago, she released a video on her YouTube channel, sort of a makeup tips sort of YouTube video, where she gives, literally for 20 minutes, goes on about how one can do her makeup. And how she does her face up.

And, you know, at times she's funny, she's silly in the video, but she also is a 15-year-old girl. That comes out very, very clear in this video.

Clearly, she and her family all suing AEG at the moment, the concert promoter, for wrongful death of her father, Michael Jackson. That has taken a heavy toll on this young woman. She's been deposed twice by their lawyers. Both times she has broken down into tears, and she may have to testify in the trial itself -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wow. We wish her the best, certainly.

Miguel, thanks very much.

Now let's check in with Susan Hendricks, who's got a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, tonight, a second body was pulled from the rubble of the building collapse in Philadelphia. And authorities are searching for another body that might be there. At least 13 others were injured after a vacant four-story building being demolished collapsed onto a thrift store.

Connecticut's legislature has approved a bill that would seal some documents and graphic photos from the Sandy Hook shooting investigation. The governor is expected to sign the bill later this week. Twenty students and six staff members were killed in the attack last December.

The Transportation Security Administration is dropping plans to allow small knives on planes. The change came under heavy criticism from Congress, airlines, flight attendants and also pilots.

And the holder of the only winning ticket in the $590 million Powerball drawing last month has finally come forward, 84-year-old Gloria McKenzie of Florida. She will pocket -- get this -- nearly $371 million before taxes.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Susan, thanks.

Coming up, a nine-foot-tall, anatomically-correct metal gargoyle. What could possibly be wrong with that? "The RidicuList" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight, we have a story from a small town in Arizona with what some see as a very big problem. An artist who recently moved to Paulden, Arizona, put up one of his prized works, a nine-foot-tall metal gargoyle. It has a wing span of 13 feet and a lot of meaning for the artist, David Smith.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID SMITH, ARTIST: It kind of symbolizes fire, because I work with metal, and fire has its own spirit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The fire symbolism is not what some in the community -- is not what got them all hot and bothered. It's -- well, it's -- actually reporter William Pitts of KPNX does a good job of describing what the controversy is all about. So I'm just going to let him tell you about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM PITTS, REPORTER, KPNX: But it's not the size of the whole statue that has the county up in arms. It's the size of something else. And let's just say it is in proportion to a man nine feet tall.

SMITH: It just seemed like it needed to be there. I don't like Ken dolls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: OK. I'm going to teach you a little news jargon here. This is what we in the business call an affiliate package.

The gargoyle is anatomically correct and in proportion, apparently. So some people have a giant problem with it. Here's a county official.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The frontal nudity of the statue was offensive, and they were concerned their children were walking by it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The artist says it was not his intention to disturb anyone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: It wasn't put on there to offend anybody. That isn't the reason. Everything has a sex.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Everything has a sex.

I'd say he should take this up with some sort of artist union, but I have no idea if he's a member. P.S., can we just take a moment and acknowledge the extraordinary camera work in this package? And I use the term "package" carefully. This is some really creative shooting here.

By the way, they never do show the offending appendage. It must be too graphic. But they really do manage to get the point across.

So now the county says the artist has to take down the gargoyle or at least get it out of the public's view or else he'll have to pay a $1,000 fine, which is not fine with the artist, who says he's getting the shaft.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: I thought I was living in a free country. If they don't like it, don't look. If this is incompatible, I'm incompatible. I honestly thought I had freedom of speech, and I will fight this. I won't let them take it away from. It's something I worked too hard for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Seriously, is this a free country or what? I mean, it's getting to be -- the point where you can't even put up a nine-foot gargoyle with full frontal nudity any more without someone complaining.

But fear not, edgy artists of the world. Your work will always have a home in the museum of "The RidicuList."

OK. That's it for us, thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.