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Mom speaks out on daughter's eye-damaging firecracker accident

July 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A local mom is talking about a Fourth of July accident that permanently changed her daughter. The 12-year-old girl is at risk of losing her sight in one eye.

The girl and her mother were celebrating the Independence Day Monday when a firecracker exploded in the girl's face.

Doctors say she will be permanently blind in her right eye and her recovery will be difficult.

The South Los Angeles girl continues to recover at Children's Hospital Los Angeles in Hollywood. Her doctor says she's dealing with a lot of pain after a firecracker exploded and severely injured her right eye on July 4th.

The girl's mother, Paula Rodriguez, described the few seconds of horror that ended their Independence Day celebration.

Paula Rodriguez says she heard a loud explosion just a few yards away from where she and her 12-year-old daughter, Erica, were standing on July 4.

Rodriquez says she wasn't sure what happened until she heard her daughter scream. She says the firecracker hit Erica's face. Rodriquez says she remembers seeing Erica's bloody face and hearing her daughter scream that she was hurt.

"The extent of her injuries was very severe," said Dr. Thomas Lee, who is treating Erica at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "The firecracker was a direct hit to the eye, and there was actually part of the firecracker still wedged in her eye socket so we had to remove that. The eye itself had severe trauma, which we tried to repair. The overall prognosis is very poor for vision."

Lee says Erica could lose her right eye but her left eye is fine.

"The prognosis for vision in the injured eye is very, very poor. We're not sure that she can keep the eye," said Lee. "Fortunately the explosion was limited to just the right eye. Her left eye appears intact, and so in that respect she should have very good vision for that eye."

Paula Rodriguez says the ordeal has been tough for the family and for her daughter. She's hoping Erica will be able to cope with losing sight in her right eye.

Lee says Erica should be going home in a day or two. He says the 4th of July is always a busy day in the emergency room with kids coming in with fireworks-related injuries. Lee says in Erica's case, she's fortunate that her injuries were limited to just one eye.

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