Real Name: Kristina Smith
Case: Medical Mystery
Location: Vallejo, California
Date: February 26, 1989
Details: On February 26, 1989, six-and-a-half year old Kristina Smith came home from a Brownie meeting, saying that she was not feeling well. Her mother Tina gave her some medicine, but throughout the night, she continued to say that her legs and stomach hurt. The next morning, Tina decided to let her sleep in. Shortly after breakfast, her uncle Joseph came to visit. When he saw her, he was certain that something was wrong. They took her downstairs and laid her on the couch. Her neck started to swell and she began having seizures. At that same time, her father Charles came home from work. They immediately took her to the emergency room.
Kristina suffered from multiple seizures and her breathing was labored. Then, she developed a fever, and her temperature went up to 105 degrees. Finally, she lapsed into a coma. Doctors and her parents had no idea what caused the sudden illness. They feared that it was connected to the death of her two-year-old cousin Dominique, who was Joseph's daughter. A year earlier, she had also been rushed to the hospital after suffering the same symptoms as Kristina. She lapsed into a coma and suffered severe brain damage. She died just one month before her cousin became ill. Doctors had no idea what caused her death. Joseph feared that the same thing would happen to Kristina.
Meanwhile, Kristina's doctors believed that she would never come out of her coma. Despite this, her family refused to leave her side. They tried to spend as much time as possible with her. Kristina liked jazz music, so the nurses played some for her and swayed her back and forth in their arms. They believed that she could hear them or feel them around her. Soon, her room was filled with get-well cards, posters, and her favorite toys. The hospital staff even organized pot-luck dinners that were held in her room. Despite the attention, no changes were made in her condition.
Doctors ordered more tests, but no cause was discovered. The tests did show that she had brain damage, which meant that she most likely would not recover and would be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. Her doctors wanted to send her to an institution that would care for her in her comatose state. However, her family refused to give up hope; they decided that they would take her home instead. Her parents were trained so that they could properly take care of her. Every day, her mother talked, sang, danced, and read to her. She would also put her in front of the TV with her favorite shows on, in hopes of waking her out of the coma. Finally, six weeks later, Kristina finally woke up, calling for her mother.
Her recovery was quick and remarkable: she soon began moving her arms and legs, her speech improved, and she began to learn skills over again. A few weeks later, she was enrolled in physical therapy. Four months after that, she went back to school. Although Kristina is on the road to her recovery, her family and doctors would still like to determine the cause of her illness. Other family members have also been afflicted. Fortunately, her seven-year-old cousin Urian recovered. Sadly, along with her cousin Dominique, her six-year-old cousin Delanna also succumbed to this unknown deadly disorder.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the April 4, 1990 episode.
Some sources spell her first name "Christina".