By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN
An Arkansas girl is battling back against deadly brain-eating amoebas. Her family is encouraged because she is getting stronger every day.
By nearly all accounts Kali Hardig should not be alive. During a swim at a water park, the 12-year-old contracted rare but deadly brain-eating amoebas.
Her chance of survival is less than one percent. Of 128 known cases in the past half-century, just two patients have lived. Now Kali might just be the third, against the odds improving, the big number three on her mom's t-shirt is no longer just a prayer.
"Each day now it just gets closer and closer that feeling that she's going to be number three," said her mom, Traci Hardig.
Kali is slowly waking up from the coma doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital induced to save her life. On Tuesday, they removed the breathing tube she's had for more than two weeks.
"We've had tears of ultimate joy. You just wanted to jump and down and scream hallelujah. It was so great and a wonderful feeling to see her breathing on her own. And looking at you and squeezing your hand," said Traci.
Dr. Mark Heulitt has been treating Kali.
"She has a very good chance of surviving this and i think she is definitely on the road to recovery," said Heulitt.
But what about those amoebas that feed on brain tissue? If they caused any permanent damage to Kali's brain, it's still too soon to know but doctors are encouraged.
"We'll say is this your dad? And she'll shake her head. So that way we know she's processing information," said Heulitt.
An incredible recovery for a young girl who even her mom admits had almost no hope at all.
"I feel like my prayers have been answered. That it's just a miracle," said Traci.