Nikia’s Second Chance

How dedicated teams of UF Health caregivers brought a teen back from the brink of death

By Doug Bennett

Part I: The Crash

“I was pretty calm about it. I started touching it because I wasn’t sure what was dripping down. And then it all clicked. I just couldn’t move. It was hard to move my arms. I couldn’t move my head. My legs felt like they were stuck.’’
— Nikia

The 911 Call

“Angels were watching over her because she should not have been alive.’’
— ShandsCair Flight Nurse Daniela Hofacker

Part II: The miracle

I drop cap
just after accident

Part III: Nikia’s new birthday

“It was like death was knocking at her door. Every day I left, I did not think I would come back and she’d be there.’’
— Nurse Manager Stephanie Queen
“February 23. That’s my new birthday. I could finally do everything on my own without ECMO anymore.’’
— Nikia

Part IV: Healing

drop cap
“I had dreams about how nobody came for me. I was out there forever. And I couldn’t say goodbye. But those dreams have stopped and it’s getting a lot better.’’
— Nikia