San Diego Girl Miraculously Survives Internal Decapitation
By Rebekah Gonzalez
October 13, 2021
A 17-year-old girl from San Diego County was saved from an injury so rare and deadly that doctors are calling it a miracle.
Lilliana was with friends when they were hit by an SUV that burst into flames in San Marcos. She suffered many injuries including broken ribs, collar bones, neck, an injured spleen, and the atlantooccipital dislocation which is the internal decapitation.
"That's where you break the neck away from the head. The head is basically holding on by muscles, skin," said Dr. John Steele.
"She's so strong. I feel like we made it through the hard part already so I feel like, we got this. She had internal bleeding and that's all I knew from the beginning," her mother Charmaine Demara told CBS8.
Demara got a call at 3:30 A.M. on a Friday in September and rushed to the hospital.
"It was so scary. So scary. But something inside of me - I feel like I have a special connection with her - and I just knew she was going to be OK," she said.
According to CBS8, Liliana needed more surgeries and extensive rehabilitation but doctors at Palomar Hospital are optimistic.
"It happens rarely that we're fortunate enough to get such a good outcome. This is usually a devastating injury. I've seen three patients thrive after it. Generally speaking, they don't normally make it to the hospital," said Dr. Steele. "She can communicate with us and she can move everything and that's just outstanding. Lilliana has gone through a lot and I have great expectations for her. I'm so happy for her family to get this miracle because that's what it is."