On Tuesday, June 9, I received a call from a distraught mother regarding her forty-five-year-old son, who had suffered a third heart attack; she feared he was already dead.
Her son, Jeff, had his first heart attack in his late thirties; doctors treated him by placing a stent in his chest for a blocked artery. He would later discover that the stent was inserted improperly. When Jeff was forty-two years of age, he had a second heart attack. Doctors treated him by inserting a defibrillator and a pacemaker. Because his heart in more recent years was working at less than 20 percent, his family chose to place him under hospice care. Last month he had a massive attack and his heart was not revived. His caretaker and family friend called 9-1-1. His mother then called me.
Within 8 minutes paramedics arrived and transported Jeff to UCSD Thornton Hospital. Jeff was put on life support and his EKG showed no sign of brain activity. The supervising doctor notified Jeff’s mother, saying “Jeff is gone.” He continued, explaining that life support would keep his body alive until the family could get there to say goodbye.
I arrived early that evening and prayed for Jeff along with many others. His 8-year-old son, when he had heard that his dad was in the hospital, begged his grandmother for one more summer with his father. We prayed for God to grant this little guy’s prayer and cry. Ultimately we prayed for God to be glorified in Jeff’s life whether by raising him from the dead or by taking him home. Either way, we knew Jeff would be healed.
At midnight, the end-of-life nurse was advised by the doctor to offer the option of taking Jeff off life support. The family moved forward with this difficult decision and the nurse strongly increased the morphine drip. In fact, after draining one bag of morphine, the nurse unlocked the case around the morphine bag, removing the empty bag and inserting a second full bag.
Prayers continued to be lifted up to the Lord on behalf of Jeff. Earlier that evening, my daughter Madi was on the freeway driving home from north county, when she got word about Jeff. She called upon the Lord to “breathe into Jeff God’s breath of life!” She didn’t know it at the time, but when she prayed this prayer, she was on the I-805 literally passing the UCSD Thornton Hospital.
I left the hospital after midnight and my wife, Karen, stayed with the mother and Jeff through the night as I had a 7AM prayer meeting at Rock Church in the morning. At around 3AM, Jeff’s breathing began to be severely affected. The end-of-life nurse then explained that the process would take anywhere between a half hour to several hours for the brain to fully shut down. The nurse also asked the family if they wouldn’t mind if he cleaned up Jeff a little from all the tubes and tape. He wanted Jeff to be a bit more presentable when he passed.
The family agreed and began to exit the room for a break so that the nurse could work without the family in the way. Jeff’s mom kissed him and whispered into his ear that they would be outside for a moment. Another friend also spoke to Jeff before leaving and said, “Jeff, we’ll be right back.”
At that moment, Jeff opened his eyes and said, “Okay.”
Everyone in the room froze, as they were completely startled! The nurse then engaged Jeff with questions as he thought it was just an adrenaline rush right before death. Jeff correctly identified everyone in the room. It was not an adrenalin rush. Something miraculous had just happened! The nurse took him immediately off of the morphine and other medications being used. The end-of-life nurse stated that he had never seen this happen before.
A number of doctors came up to Jeff’s room the next day because they wanted to see the miracle man. The doctors had no explanation except that this was a miracle!
To God alone be the glory! I was in the room with a man who was brain-dead, and on a life support system; I was in a room with a man that was dead. The next morning I returned to Jeff’s room with my wife and we can now fully testify that this man is alive!
Jeff went home from the hospital just a couple of days later.