Skip to comments.Father miraculously recovers: Oquawka man believed to be brain dead, wakes to talk to daughters
Posted on 12/03/2010 1:45:40 AM PST by iowamark
WEST BURLINGTON - God sometimes just has to show off.
That is the only way Penny Link and Shirley Martinez can explain the fact that their father, 84-year-old Gene Stotts, is alive and lucid.
"It had to be a miracle," Link said during an interview Thursday.
Only three days earlier, Stotts' family and friends believed him to be brain dead and had begun thinking about funeral arrangements.
The daughters and their father live only blocks from each other in Oquawka, Ill. But rather than spending Thanksgiving eating turkey at home, Stotts' family spent the day in the waiting room for the Intensive Care Unit of Great River Medical Center, a place they have become intimately familiar with over the past couple of weeks.
Their ordeal began Nov. 15. when Stotts called Martinez complaining of severe back pain.
Stotts, who owned and operated a grocery store in Oquawka for more than 20 years before retiring, had always been an active man. A generous and kind man, Stotts often helped out area families when money was tight, letting them charge groceries even when he knew a tab likely would never be repaid, Martinez said.
While his mobility declined in recent years, he still made a point of getting outside in his motorized chair to do his own yard work.
So when Stotts complained of pain, his daughter knew it was serious and called for an ambulance. The Oquawka Ambulance Service, which Stotts had supported years ago as a volunteer board member, soon arrived to rush him away, Martinez said.
At the hospital, doctors discovered Stotts suffered from an aortic aneurysm, which is a weakened and bulging area in the major blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the body. He spent the next four hours in surgery, said Stotts' granddaughter, Angelina Ingle, who also lives in Oquawka.
Given his age, the prospect of Stotts surviving didn't look good. During and after the surgery, he had to be given 17 pints of blood, causing doctors to worry about complications, Martinez said.
For days after the surgery, doctors kept Stotts sedated. All his family could do was wait to see if he would pull through.
Eventually, tests revealed the only portion of Stotts' brain that remained active was the part believed to control breathing, doctors told his family. The man they knew was gone, doctors said.
"We decided as a family, he wouldn't want to live like that,"Ingle said.
At the family's direction, hospital staff on Tuesday began unhooking Stotts from the many monitors and tubes running into his body. At about 5 p.m., they disconnected the ventilator that had been helping him breath.
Unable to bear the sound of their father's rasping breath, Link and Martinez went to the waiting room just outside the ICU to rest as they waited for their father to die.
Then at about 12:30 a.m., a nurse came to wake Martinez up.
"He (the nurse) said, 'I want you to come in here and see something'," Martinez said.
The nurse led Martinez into her father's room. Stotts was awake.
The nurse asked Stotts if he knew who Martinez was.
"He said, 'That's my daughter'," Martinez said.
She explained to her father where he was and what had happened.
Still not quite believing the unexpected turn of events, Martinez went to wake her sister.
Link at first thought she was dreaming when she saw her father awake.
"He asked me for an ice cream cone," Link said.
Still in shock, the women began calling and texting their family and friends to share the good news.
Upon hearing her grandfather had woken, Ingle said she immediately dropped her children at day care and rushed to the hospital.
"I thought I lost my opportunity to ever talk to him again. So when this happened, I thought, 'Even if this is a gift of just two minutes, I'm going to take everything I've got.' I think we all feel like that," she said.
In the hours after he woke, Stotts told his family he loved them and talked about seeing heaven saying it was "beautiful up there," Martinez said.
He also talked of his wife, Wonda, who died almost 20 years ago. Stotts said Wonda was in the room watching over him.
Martinez asked her father if he would be leaving with his wife.
" 'Not right now'," Martinez said he answered.
Stotts went back into surgery Wednesday so doctors could close the hole they had opened in his body to fix the aneurysm.
Thursday morning he was still unconscious, but doing well, family said.
Martinez credits God, doctors, GRMC staff and prayer for the miracle.
"God was the coach in this. Medical staff were the team, and family and friends were the fans cheering him on," Martinez said.
Amazed and looking for meaning in Stotts' miraculous recovery, family members turned to the Rev. Mark Baker, the pastor of Faith Bible Church in Oquawka where Stotts attends services regularly.
God sometimes just has to show off, Baker told them.
Its indeed a miracle. To put it simply, God decided it was not yet his time. We should be thankful this grandfather got more years to spend on earth with his loved ones!
So, “tests revealed” that he was brain-dead, eh?
Mmm, I loves me the smell of a lawsuit in the mornng ....
Look, I am not a litigation-happy person. But I hope the family will sue, for the sole reason that it will make doctors a lot less quick to write people off if they know they may have to justify a million-dollar lawsuit to the hospital they’re working for. I saw this cavalier attitude with my mom’s death. Some docs (not all, but enough to cause trouble) have a little God complex and want to decide for you when your life is “not worth living.” You know what? That is not the doctor’s call to make. They should have that lesson reinforced.
Under Obamacare, he would already be soylent green.
What a glorious miracle! Praise God!
There's a news story here about a glorious miracle. I think you will enjoy reading it if you haven't already heard about it.
Good thing he was 84 and did not have any harvestable organs, or he would have been toast. How many Quality Adjusted Life Years does this count for?
Bookmark for times of doubt.
That attitude adds 30-40% to every hospital bill in the nation as it is.
Sometimes miracles happen; so do accidents. Instead of contacting a lawyer, how about enjoying the few remaining weeks/months/years this man has?
I've witnessed many such 'miracles' through the years. I've seen some folks die for no apparent reason too. We are mere humans, the vast majority of us do the best we can. Sometimes we are doing God's work; sometimes we are interfering.
True. I never knew a conservative to sue anybody.
Job 12:10 ~ In His hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
From Psalm 100 ~ “For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”
I join with you ... Praise God!
There’s an additional miracle here. He’s 84 and in a chair, yet they found someone willing to operate on him for an aortic aneurysm.
In NY the organ transplanters recently contracted with 911 to swoop in and harvest accident victims before the families can get involved.
God sometimes just has to show off, Baker told them.
What? This is a wonderful story, but anyone who attributes God’s miracles to “showing off”, a less than admirable human frailty, has much to learn about the ways of the Lord.
What a stupid way to describe God’s work.
Sometimes we are doing God’s work; sometimes we are interfering.
A miracle or a bad call by a tired resident working a lot of overtime on Thanksgiving week.
Probably the nurse on duty stopped the incessent sedation that the hosptials/hospices are providing to elderly.
Praise the Lord for his goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!