NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Charlotte Connerton is happy to be alive.
The 17-year-old North Kingstown girl has spent the last few weeks battling pneumonia and the flu at Rhode Island Hospital.
“For me, it’s a Christmas miracle,” her mother Kathleen Connerton said.
Kathleen said she knew something wasn’t right with her daughter soon after her doctor diagnosed her.
“She became very ill very fast,” she recalled.
Kathleen raced Charlotte to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where doctors discovered she was critically low on oxygen.
Charlotte was immediately moved to the ICU at Rhode Island Hospital, where she was put on a ventilator and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which is described as a form of life support.
“At that point, she was the most critical patient in that hospital,” Kathleen said. “It was life or death … a really scary situation.”
Charlotte’s family and her boyfriend stayed by her side throughout her recovery.
She tells 12 News she doesn’t remember much of what happened.
“I do remember my grandma singing to me … [my boyfriend] played a lot of music,” Charlotte recalled.
Kathleen said her daughter received support from all across the country, which she believes is what ultimately helped her pull through.
“She got sick so fast, but she also got better so fast,” Kathleen said.
Kathleen said her daughter was taken off of life support less than a week after being admitted.
“She defied the odds, [the doctors] said things like, ‘we never do this,'” she said.
Charlotte was released from the hospital Tuesday, just in time for Christmas.
“We just have so much to be grateful for” she said. “It’s not what’s under the tree … but who’s around it.”
Kathleen said they’re planning on having a small Christmas this weekend as Charlotte continues her recovery at home.