published Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Christmas Miracles: 'She is truly a miracle'

Whit Lofty soothes his daughter Kinley in the hospital.
Whit Lofty soothes his daughter Kinley in the hospital.
Photo by Alex Washburn.

ATLANTA -- Ignoring the beeping monitors and fluorescent lights, Kristal Lofty laid her head on the corner of her daughter's pillow and closed her eyes.

The young mother patted her 20-month-old, whimpering baby girl, Kinley, as she dozed in the miniature hospital bed.

It had been 11 days since doctors told 23-year-old Kristal and her husband, Whit, that their only daughter likely wouldn't make it through the night. The news came hours after paramedics had restarted her heart -- which hadn't beaten for nearly half an hour.

But now it was functioning at less than 10 percent, they had said.

The Varnell, Ga., couple had cried, prayed and sent out messages to get hundreds of church members to beg God for a miracle.

Six days later, Kinley had opened her eyes, looked up at Kristal and whispered, "Mommy."

Now in early December, Kinley thrashed in her bed and cried softly in the intensive care unit room at Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta, surrounded by bright yellow posters with even brighter messages: "We love you and God's got a plan for you; Remember God's there for you," among others.

She had recently begun to breathe on her own, but a feeding tube ran up into her nose, and monitors were taped to her chest and wrapped around her toes to track her body's every function, making her uncomfortable.

While it was too early for doctors to tell whether Kinley had suffered minor brain damage, or whether she would lose her right foot or toes to gangrene, she was alive.

"She is truly a miracle," said Dr. James Fortenberry, pediatrician-in-chief at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Thanksgiving weekend, Kinley had snuck out of the house. The Loftys were visiting family during the holiday weekend in Milton, Ga.

After the turkey had been carved and all the food eaten, Kinley, her three older brothers and their cousins went to the basement to play. Kinley discovered how to unlock the downstairs door.

Minutes later, Whit's mother found Kinley floating face-down in the backyard pool. Later, she would tell the family she heard what sounded like a voice in her head tell her to go outside and check the pool.

Family members ran to find Whit next door. When he reached his daughter, her body was limp. She wasn't breathing and had no pulse.

As the approaching ambulance sirens blared, Whit scooped up his daughter and sprinted to the road to meet paramedics.

When CPR didn't work, paramedics pulled out a long drill filled with adrenaline and stuck it in the toddler's leg down to the bone. Then they whisked her away to North Fulton Hospital, while the Loftys followed behind.

"Is she breathing?" Whit asked as he stormed through the emergency room doors.

She was.

On the way to the hospital her heart had begun pumping faintly. Later, doctors would marvel that she had gone 30 minutes without a heartbeat.

But don't get your hopes up, doctors warned the Loftys. Her heart is weak.

So the family had prayed. Hundreds of their fellow Salem Baptist Church of Dalton members prayed around the clock.

Twenty-four hours later, her heart was functioning at 34 percent of capacity.

Then Kinley developed a blood clot in her leg. Gangrene spread quickly and doctors said her leg would have to be amputated from the hip down.

Just give us a day, Whit told the doctors. So the Loftys gathered and prayed again.

Doctors were shocked the next day when they checked Kinley's leg, finding a pulse where there had been none. The infection had also drained to only her foot.

Then her liver wasn't working. When the family saw healing, they also prayed for her lungs and kidneys.

Each day, the news got better.

"Whatever they said that morning we would gather around the bed and pray," Kristal said. "Then the next day they would come back and the prayer was answered."

As Kinley continues to recover, more people are seeing their faith strengthened, church members say.

"It has been a shot in the arm to all of our faith," said Pastor Noel Caldwell. "To see a manifested miracle take place that you can actually witness, not just read about, has helped us grow closer to God."

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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jjameslmcl said...

I too believe in Miracles.

December 25, 2011 at 12:28 a.m.
bloodsoaked316 said...

To God be the glory what a wonderful example of the power of prayer. Nice to see parents who know through adversity where there health and strength comes from. Thank you Lord for healing her.

December 25, 2011 at 6:21 a.m.
sangaree said...

After the turkey had been carved and all the food eaten, Kinley, her three older brothers and their cousins went to the basement to play. Kinley discovered how to unlock the downstairs door

I know this family must not be from the projects, receiving foodstamps or any kind of other government cheese. But OK___I have to bite this one. Why were children at such a young age left unsupervised in the first place? One can only imagine the haters posting their bitter brew if this had happened to some child whose parent(s) were living in public housing.

December 25, 2011 at 8:09 p.m.
COG said...

sanagree: This story is about a wonderful christian family that has experienced a horrible accident and then numerous miracles. God has been working miracles in this little one and it has been life changing for many people. Your comment was very hurtful and mean spirited. I pray that you or one of your loved ones never have to go through what this family has. I know this family and they are good people. You know nothing of their financial status and God wouldn't care if they are on public assistance or not...A miracle is a miracle! This wasn't a case of neglect, just simply a child and her curosity, and God performing miracle after miracle.

December 25, 2011 at 10:29 p.m.
01centare said...

COG said... Your comment was very hurtful and mean spirited

You should read some of the hateful, hurtful and mean spirited comments made by Christians on this board. You haven't read mean, hateful and hurtful until the read those.

December 26, 2011 at 12:26 a.m.
laspoone said...

I have known this family personally for many years and they are by no means irresponsible people. They are very respectful God fearing and serving people. What does the word accident mean?It is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance. And what does the word miracle mean. An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs. Thats totally in a nutshell what we have here. A terrible accident followed by wonderful miracles. They were by no means careless as some may portray them. It was simply an accident. It doesn't take but a few seconds for a child to be in a situation like this and it is impossible to have them in your site every waking moment. Especially at this young age. God has a purpose in everything. Even in times such as these. You will be judged by the measure in which you judge others. Isn't it easier to let God be the judge and just to lift this precious child up in prayer??

December 26, 2011 at 11:09 a.m.
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