Nathan Woessner, boy buried in sand at Indiana Dunes, out of rehabilitation

July 26, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Nathan Woessner, 6, left La Rabida Children's Hospital Friday morning. He has been slowly recovering since the incident that happened two weeks ago at the Indiana Dunes.

Doctors say Woessner was eating, moving, and functioning like a regular kid for his age, which is pretty amazing, even miraculous, given what he went through.

7,500 patients come through La Rabida Children's Hospital each year. The staff cares for children with chronic, sometimes complex, illnesses, and they specialize in rehabilitation for children. Woessner was sent there for rehabilitation after being buried in sand.

"When I first met Nathan and his family, I was surprised he looked so great," said Dr. Michael Hobaugh, Woessner's attending physician at La Rabida.

He says the therapists and doctors at the facility focused on Woessner's memory and physical stability.

"They recognize certain areas of deficit and then work on improving those things, so for example, he will have someone to sort of guard him as he walks if there is a balance issue," said Hobaugh.

Hobaugh heard about Woessner's story while he was on vacation. Woessner had to be rescued from eleven feet of sand in the Indiana Dunes two weeks ago.

Woessner was treated at Comer Children's Hospital, where he was initially in critical condition, but he improved so much that he could be discharged from Comer and La Rabida.

So how did Woessner survive being buried in sand for more than three hours?

"It's quite a story and quite a miraculous recovery," said Hobaugh. "There's a lot we don't understand about the universe, though and I think it's good to be modest about what we don't understand."

Woessner and his family also received some counseling about how to talk about the traumatic incident. He also does not understand or remember much about the actual incident. He will return to La Rabida, but as an outpatient following his departure from the facility Friday.

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