A teenager’s miraculous survival after being underwater for 15 minutes
By Dave Andrusko
A reader sent along the story of 14-year-old John Smith’s amazing recovery to many pro-life outlets, including National Right to Life News Today. I write about it today, not just because it is a heart-warming, miraculous story, but also because it is a warning once again how prematurely concluding someone won’t survive can often be dangerously incorrect.
On January 19, John, from St. Charles, Missouri, was with two friends. The trio walked out on the thin ice of Lake St. Louise and all three fell into the icey water.
According to television station KSDK, one boy climbed out, the other was rescued, but John “was nowhere to be found.”
It was not until 15 minutes later that crews trained in cold water rescue pulled John’s body out of the lake. The 15 minutes of CPR on the scene was followed by another 27 minutes of CPR in the Emergency Room at SSM St. Joseph Hospital West by Dr. Kent Sutterer and his team.
By this time, one can only imagine the conclusion the medical staff had come to: John was gone. They might have asked, what else could be done? What else should be done?
And then this shocker from KSDK:
Dr. Sutterer says it wasn’t until John’s mother, Joyce, entered the trauma room and started praying loudly that the teen’s heart started beating for the first time in 45 minutes.But John was not out of the woods yet. “Other vital signs were still incompatible with life,” we read.
Unfortunately the story does not offer much detail what happened next. Instead the reporter tries to answer the question not only how John could survive, but how he did so without any brain damage.
There’s back and forth about how the lake’s cold temperature possibly played a role in preserving brain function, but some are calling his recovery “miraculous.” (Some?)
But KSDK ends its account with the most important information of all. While John “needed therapy to help him recover some fine motor skills in his hands,” “otherwise, he is healthy, and now home.”