Doctors expect full recovery for 3-year-old shot in the head in Port St. Lucie

Doctors expect full recovery for 3-year-old shot in the head in Port St. Lucie (WPEC)

For the first time, in person, CBS12 News saw Preslie Jean walking.

The 3-year-old girl was shot in the head during a road rage incident in Port St. Lucie the Sunday before Halloween. She was in a medically induced coma for a week and for the last five weeks, she has been making incredible progress.

On Friday, Palm Beach Children's Hospital let CBS12 News inside to see Preslie's progress. Preslie's mom, Nikki, was speechless to be able to see her daughter make such an incredible recovery when she couldn't move for the first week after she was shot.

Dr. Lauren Schwartz, a pediatric neurosurgeon, was the doctor who operated on Preslie the night of the shooting. She said if Preslie's head moved a fraction of an inch when she was shot, she would have been killed.

Schwartz explained the bullet went in the right side of Preslie's brain through the motor strip. She said the motor strip is what controls the left side of the body, but luckily it wasn't ruined.

That's why Preslie has trouble with the left side of her body, but she's making progress. Schwartz also said Preslie's age helps tremendously with her recovery.

After Schwartz spoke, Preslie's physical therapist spoke.

Dr. Craig Lichtblau said when Preslie came in the Intensive Care Unit, she couldn't move the left side of her body at all. But with rehab, she's improving. He said they are working with her to help move her left leg and left arm, as well as her speech.

Lichtblau said she will continue to make big strides for the next six months and smaller movements over the next two years but they are confident she will make a full recovery. That is the true miracle and that is all Preslie's mom is happy about.

During Friday's press conference, Preslie was a little tired and didn't want to put her helmet on to walk.

"She's back to being three," Nikki said. "She's back to being her bossy little self."

It's something she couldn't be happier about.

Preslie took several steps across the room with help. Lichtblau said Preslie will stay at the hospital for as long as she continues to make progress, then she will have outpatient rehab.

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