"Miracle Child" Amazes Doctors, Dances Out of Hospital

Nearly five months ago, doctors didn't expect 14-year-old Mario Palomares to live through the night

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    Mario Palomares almost died five months ago. (Published Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010)

    Nearly five months ago, doctors didn't expect 14-year-old Mario Palomares to live through the night.

    But on Thursday, he stood up from his wheelchair and slowly danced with nurses and rehabilitation staff who helped him along the road to recovery.

    "It was difficult there for a while, but he did remarkably well," said Dr. Douglas Koltun during Palomares' final few moments at Advocate Hope Children's Hospital.

    Palomares was hit by a car in May while walking near his school.  He suffered severe head injuries and spent more than three weeks in a coma.  Doctors had to remove a portion of his skull to reduce pressure and the possibility of permanent brain damage. The accident left him wounded, and his mother, Maria Guillén devastated.

    "My son looked different, I almost didn't recognize him ... he was swollen, like a balloon," Guillén said to the Koltun.

    Thursday Palomares whispered into his mother's ear: "I'm Ok."

    Then he told her he wanted to dance.

    The teen gingerly rose from his wheel chair and grabbed his mother for a slow dance. Then he turned to a room full of nurses and began asking each of them to dance.

    "Look at that smile," one of the nurses said. "I remember when he couldn't smile, now he's got a big cheesy grin."

    Palomares spent weeks in the Intensive Care Unit, battled pneumonia and lost nearly 20 pounds during his fight to recover.  But little by little, Palomares improved, impressing everyone around him.

    Palomares' recovery will no doubt be a long one.  He's now re-learning how to walk and talk but demonstrated excellent coordination on his way out of the hospital.

    "They don't often get to see someone recover so quickly, so they also love to the end result of all the work that they put into his care," Dr. Koltun said of the ICU staff.

    Doctors and nurses at the hospital call him "Miracle Child."