Family of girl, 13, struck by lightning in Garfield Park credits her survival to CPR

Family hopes their experience will inspire others to get trained in CPR.

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Thursday, August 18, 2022
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A 13-year-old girl injured by a lightning strike in Garfield Park Wednesday is recovering at Stroger Hospital, family said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 13-year-old girl hit by lightning at a Chicago park earlier this month is home from the hospital. Now, her family is speaking out about the importance CPR played in her survival.

The girl's family, who requested anonymity, said Thursday she was able to come home on August 7, just four days after she was injured when a storm hit Garfield Park.

Note: The video in the player above is from a previous report.

"There is every expectation that she will be able to start the school year off without issue from the experience," her family said.

A doctor who treated her at Stroger Hospital said she suffered cardiac arrest and underwent CPR both at the scene and during transport to the hospital.

Her family credited a family member at the scene who was trained in CPR and "relentlessly applied this technique until the rescue was turned over to the Chicago Fire Department emergency crew."

"It was only because the patient received high-quality CPR immediately that she survived with such a good outcome," said Dr. Thomas Messer, a trauma physician at Stroger Hospital.

Her family also praised the experience of the early responders and the staff at Stroger as key factors in her recovery.

"In our gratitude we are mindful that the course in this incident is not the norm," her family wrote. "It is our hope that our extraordinary experience will influence others to complete the CPR training required to intervene in immediate life-saving procedures."

The National Weather Service reminds people there is no safe place to be outdoors when lightning strikes, making it critical for you to find shelter.

If you can't find any indoor space at all, they say it's important to avoid sheltering under trees and you should never lie flat on the ground.

Avoiding any bodies of water or objects that conduct electricity is also critical.

About 40 million lighting strikes hit the ground in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding that the odds of being struck by lightning are less than one in a million.