Video Report: 4-year-old girl in near drowning passes away at hospital

Natalie Lippard

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) – Natalie Lippard, the 4-year-old girl who nearly drowned on Tuesday night in Rowan County, passed away Friday evening at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem.

The heartbreaking news came as the young girl’s family was asking for prayers of peace and comfort.  Early on Friday family members said that additional tests had shown no sign of brain activity.

“My heart has never been so shattered,” father Stephen wrote. “Please please please keep praying for Natalie, for her siblings as they understand, her parents as we learn to cope, and her extended family as they continue to support us.”

On Thursday afternoon Natalie’s family used the word “miracle” to describe what they were now praying for.

“Natalie had a neuro exam this morning, showing no signs of brain activity,” a post to the Stallings Memorial Baptist Church Facebook page said.  “She will have the same test tonight around 9 pm or so. My sweet baby girl is stable and comfortable, but life support is running her heart and lungs right now. If ever we needed a miracle, it’s in this darkest hour. Never stop praying.”

On Wednesday night that’s just what church members did, both in Salisbury and around Natalie’s bed at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem.

“There’s really no words of comfort that you can give other than scripture because there are so many thoughts in our minds of why this thing happened, why are we having to go through this, but God never tells us it’s going to be easy,” said Reverend Mike Herring.  “It’s never easy to do anything like this, to stand up and talk to people about the health and well-being of a child, it’s just the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do as a pastor and especially when you have the family here beside of you because they’re looking for answers and the only answer we can give is our faith and trust in God, so yes, it’s very  hard, but yet we come together as a family as a loving family and as a church and that’s where the support is and that’s where the fellowship is and that’s where our unity is, and that’s what the family can lean upon.”

During the special prayer vigil on Wednesday night, church members and friends gathered on their knees at the foot of the platform in the church sanctuary to pray.

Natalie and her family live in the Raleigh area but were visiting family in Rowan County when the incident happened on Tuesday night.

Fire and Rowan EMS were called around 6:40 to the home of Natalie’s grandparents in the 8000 block of Sherrills Ford Road, about 8-10 miles west of Salisbury.

Family friends said Natalie fell into the swimming pool during a family gathering.  When  family members discovered Natalie in the pool they took her out and immediately began CPR.  They continued CPR until Rowan County deputies and EMS arrived.

Additional crews responded and attempted to treat the 4-year-old before she was taken to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. A helicopter was waiting there and took the child to a trauma center at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, and Brenner Children’s Hospital.