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Miracle on 3rd Street

For Daniel Tomanelli, Saturday, December 3rd 2016, was one of those busy, hopeful days right before Christmas. The 13-year-old was looking forward to playing guitar with his church youth group later. That afternoon he was running errands with a friend. Then the unthinkable happened.

Daniel had just gotten out of his friend’s truck when a car left the road and struck him at over 50 mph. The impact threw him into a wall. His injuries were extensive—multiple fractures to his head and hips, a collapsed lung, airway trauma, external and internal bleeding, bleeding in his brain, a ruptured spleen and more.

As his family and friends prayed for a miracle, the trauma team at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger went to work. Doctors performed a tracheostomy, which allowed Daniel to breathe. In surgery they performed a craniotomy to relieve pressure on his brain and removed his spleen. It took six hours, but prayers were answered. Daniel was stable, though he still had a long road ahead.

Daniel’s mother, Nancy Tomanelli, tells the story best. She writes, “Daniel was transported to the Pediatric ICU where we spent the next three weeks. He was on a ventilator during the coma. He endured many more surgeries that week, each performed skillfully by the incredible doctors and staff at Children’s Hospital, who timed it all perfectly. Each surgery was terrifying, but another step in the healing process. The nurses were outstanding. The medical team rounded day and night discussing every detail of Daniel’s care and how they could pull together to improve his condition hour by hour.”

Finally, it was time to bring Daniel out of sedation to see if he would respond. Coming this far was more than anyone had hoped, but his family wondered, would Daniel ever walk again? Talk again? Play guitar again? Could he go back to school? Would his personality be the same?

It took many months of recovery and rehabilitation, but the answer to all those questions was a glorious yes. Daniel returned to school and was chosen to give the closing speech at his 8th grade graduation. He’s back playing guitar, piano, basketball and riding his skateboard. He even started his own lawn-care business.

Since his remarkable recovery, Daniel often visits Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, encouraging other children and their families. He also works with the Children’s Miracle Network, sharing his story with children in hospitals across the country. His attitude, perseverance and recovery inspires everyone he meets.

Concludes Nancy, Daniel’s mom, “He is a true miracle.”