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Photo Captures Image of an 'Angel' in Hospital Hallway

Photo Captures Image of an 'Angel' in Hospital Hallway

This photo shows an “angel” of light Chelsea's mother saw at Presbyterian Hospital in November. PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLEEN BANTON

Jane Duckwall / Charlotte Observer

December 23, 2008

On Saturday, Nov. 1, “they took her off the ventilator and she did good,” her mother said. “She was breathing on her own.”

The next day, “her stats went down,” and doctors put her in an oxygen mask.

But over the next few days, Colleen noticed her daughter “wasn’t getting better. Things were kind of lingering.”

And Chelsea, who had been having anxiety attacks and crying throughout her hospital stay, was having more of them.

“I said, ‘She’s been through enough,‘” Colleen remembers. “I said, ‘Can we just take her mask off? She’s been through enough.’

“I wanted to do what the Lord wanted me to do. And I really felt like I’ve had her for 14 years, and if it’s time for her to go to heaven, then I know she’ll be healed.”

The mask didn’t come off immediately, though. They waited until family members had a chance to come to see Chelsea – perhaps for the last time.

On the afternoon of Nov. 5, as family and friends prayed about the decision, a nurse practitioner called Colleen’s attention to a monitor showing the door to the pediatric intensive care unit.

“On the monitor, there was this bright light,” Colleen recalls. “And I looked at it and I said, ‘Oh my goodness! It looks like an angel!”

Colleen pointed her digital camera at the monitor to take a photo of the image, but the “first picture wouldn’t take.”

She tried again and succeeded. The image gave her a peace that stayed with her when hospital staff removed Chelsea’s oxygen mask.

And then, “when they took the mask off of her, her stats went as high as they’ve ever been.

“Her color was good, and the doctors and nurses were amazed,” Colleen said. “The nurse practitioner who saw the image in the monitor said, ‘I’ve worked here 15 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it.’”

Chelsea was removed from intensive care on Nov. 14 and went home three days later.

Her mother believes it was a miracle – attended by a very real angel bathed in light at the door to the pediatric intensive care unit.

“What was so ironic… is it was a rainy day,” Colleen said. “It had been overcast all day. And the sun only came out at that point.”

To those who doubt her story and photograph, Colleen Banton says: “If they doubt it, that’s fine. … But I know what I saw, and the picture’s untouched. I didn’t make it up. That’s just something that I believe.

“I believe that more people have changed since this happened. I know I have. I look at things differently than I used to – because I know God is in control.”

On Christmas Day, Chelsea will turn 15 – another miracle considering all of the medical trials she’s faced, according to her mother.

“I’m learning,” Colleen Banton said, “that every day she’s alive is a miracle.”

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