She became ill nearly two weeks ago during a trip with her parents, who were visiting extended family in the town of San Luis de Potosi in Mexico.
The toddler had emergency surgery for what's called "telescoping" of the intestines. During the operation, a tube was dislodged, her family said, and fluid went into her chest and lung. Oxygen deprivation caused a stroke and swelling on the brain.
"It's a family's worst nightmare: your child being in ICU," her mother Emily Barba said. Baby step by baby step, Emma improved enough to be considered stable for the trip home.
The generosity of people who saw her story generated more than $30,000 on a Gofundme page called "Sweet Baby Emma." Funds will go toward her medical bill from Mexico, as well as the air ambulance, but may not cover the entire expense.
Her insurance is under Medicaid, which doesn't pay for treatment outside of the country or for medical transport, her family said.
Her parents wanted her to go to Texas Children's Hospital as soon as she arrived back in Houston.
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