Good News Blog

Miracles

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

Toddler Survived 18 Minutes Under Water

September 2008 the then 2 year old Oluchi Nwaubani fell into a swimming pool in London. At that time of year the water was freezing cold.

By the time she was rescued she had been under water for at least 18 minutes. Serious and extensive brain damage normally sets in after just 5 minutes without oxygen.

Paramedics were unable to start Oluchi breathing again. A medvac helicopter rushed her to the Royal London hospital where doctors gave her a 2% of surviving.

“For days we were thinking is she going to live or is she going to die.

Doctors were telling us she was never going to pull through.

They said that if she had not started breathing again in six hours she would probably not survive.

Six hours went by and when the doctors discussed turning off the machine we asked them to hold on.

Three days later my daughter suddenly started breathing again.

The doctors said she would never pass urine again because her kidney failed. But she is passing urine normally now.

They said she would not be able to talk anymore, she would not walk again – she would be a vegetable.

But she is walking, she is eating normally and she is able to say what she wants.

The doctors said that the amount of time she spent in the water meant she would never recover but when I asked her to say ‘hello’ to the doctor she tried to speak. And then I asked her to wave goodbye and she moved her hand.

Her doctor said he couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. Staff were calling her a miracle baby.

She seems to have defied doctors at every stage.

It was hard to explain to her sisters that she was alive because they had seen her die at the pool.

It has been a difficult time for us but the support we received from friends and family has helped us make it through.”
— Junior Nwaubani, Oluchi’s father

Doctors now believe her survival was due to a combination of the diving reflex, which slows down the body’s metabolism and need for oxygen, and the very cold temperature of the water which would have protected the brain from more extensive damage.

“It was really almost a miracle that this child has a normal recovery.

Some young children, particularly babies, have a special reflex that they had when they were in utero called the diving reflex. It essentially slows the body’s metabolism down to almost nothing, so they almost need no oxygen for the brain cells to survive.”
— Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

To Toya, her mother, the details matter a lot less.

“She shouldn’t be here, but she is.

There’s still room for recovery. She’s still on a road to recovery.

I’ve said it’s not a miracle instantly, it’s a miracle over time.”
— Toya Nwaubani

Monday, Jan. 26, 2009

Driver crashes into church roof – survives

This 23 year old driver from Germany had a miracle escape from certain death, if you ask me.

Going at very high speed he lost control of his car and veered off the road.

Breaking through a road barrier he then hit a bank which launched the car in a 35 meter high arc. The trajectory had his car crash into the roof of a church.

The roof is 7 meters up.

The man had to be rescued from his car by crane as the car remained stuck in the roof of the church.

Although the young man is badly injured, he did survive the crash.

Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008

Mother Of One Expected To Die Makes Full Recovery

A 53-year-old mother from the UK has merit jealously recovered from a two-week coma after a car accident in which she suffered such severe injuries that doctors expected her to die.

Carol Beaumont, a home care assistant, was hit by a car as she crossed the road after visiting an elderly patient.

“I remember being terrified and fighting off the paramedics as they tried to put a neck brace on me. After that, it is a complete blank.

The next thing I knew was waking up in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary the next day with my daughter Laura there.

It is the first time I have ever been in hospital as a patient but everyone there was wonderful to me.

If it hadn’t been for them and my friends and family who have constantly been coming round, all this would have been so much harder.

Laura’s been great, helping me around the house. It even hurts putting the dishwasher on.

Everything hurts, everything aches, but I know I am really lucky.

All my family have told me how close I came to dying. It is a miracle I’m okay and it is still sinking in, even now. I’m still very shaky and it hurts to move.

I’ve been given two Zimmer frames by the hospital. I feel like I’m about 96.”
— Carol Beaumont

The accident that left Mrs. Beaumont with a fractured skull and pelvis and a chipped spine.

Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008

State Trooper’s Miracle Recovery

March this year Steve code was working on his tractor. He was clearing the way for fans, pushing bushes and small trees out of the way.

A large six-inch lights, 7 foot long link broke loose and hits the format.

Striking him hard on the right side of this hat, internally it calls the brain to hit against the left side of his skull. This is fairly damaged areas in the brain that control speech and memory.

The damage was so extensive he was unable to recognize his family.

Unlike his ordinary routine state trooper Ray Hall was the trolling close to Steve foods property that day. All recognized how serious the situation was. He called in a helicopter crew, using his GPS to bring the helicopter in.

Just days before a helicopter flight crew had met with state troopers to talk about procedures for calling them in directly in situations like this.

Steve’s been nine days in the critical care unit. His wife and state troopers kept guard.

When he came by he was transferred to the Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. About 10 days into his stay there, something just clicked.

His speech still weak he began asking questions.

Just a week later he was able to put on his uniform by himself and attend the ceremony where Gov. Haley Barbour honored his friend state trooper Ray Hall.

His subsequent rehabilitation when Sophos you started to beat the therapies that the rehab games.

Now, eight months later, Steve has bought back on the road as a state Highway Patrol trooper.

Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008

Campaign Honors Infants’ Heroes

A nation-wide campaign in the United Kingdom, aims to honor the heroes of premature babies: doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, helpers, and others who toil to save the lives of these feather light special care babies.

The children’s charity Baby Lifeline is behind the campaign. Through their MUM (Maternity Unit Miracles) Awards they hope to honor the unsung heroes of premature babycare.

“Having a baby can be a worrying time, and if there are problems all parents want to know they are in the best hands.

When the odds of life or death are stacking up, the care and expertise on offer can make the world of difference.

That’s why charity Baby Lifeline wants to champion the work of dedicated professionals committed to helping those who don’t always get the best start in life.”
Judy Ledger, founder

The campaign has received unexpected support form a television star. Kate Ford, herself prematurely born at 4 lbs. and who starred in the popular TV serie Coronation Street, is backing the campaign.

“Giving birth is hard but it’s just as hard for midwives who work round the clock to give the best care possible.

You feel so vulnerable but a good midwife makes you feel safe.

The people who work in these units are unsung heroes and if anyone has had a positive experience giving birth, whether premature or not, this is their chance to say ‘thank you’ for all the fantastic work the staff do.”
Kate Ford

Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2008

Misfire miracle – Businessman dodges death as gun jams three times

Three times he pulled the trigger, three times the gun apparently jammed. A Manchester businessman narrowly escaped death yesterday when a gunman held him up outside his home in Christiana, stole a bag containing more than $1 million and then tried to shoot him.

“He (the gunman) pointed a gun at me and I heard three clicks, which meant that he tried to fire three shots. But the gun jammed,” the businessman, whom The Gleaner has chosen not to identify, said yesterday.

Mercy of God

“I believe in God and he is the only reason I am here now because I could have been lying in the morgue.”

He added: “I was opening my garage to leave my house, so I put my bag down with my bank lodgements. I then heard a voice saying, ‘Give me the bag! Give me the bag!’ The man who was behind me then grabbed my bag and ran off. While running, he pointed a gun at me and I heard the three clicks.”

The robber later ran into a nearby gully with the bag containing about $1.3 million.

Well-orchestrated plan

The store operator believes he was the victim of a well-orchestrated plan.

He said the execution of the plan began about 6:30 a.m. when he observed a green Nissan motor car parked some distance from his home.

“I was looking at the car through my window and a man came out and flew his bonnet like he was repairing something. He did this for over an hour and then he drove off to the top of the road like he was waiting.”

After which, the store operator decided to leave home, which was when he was attacked.

No plans to relocate

The Mandeville businessman’s miraculous survival comes just over a week after corporate Jamaica loudened its cry against crime, proposing drastic measures to curb the violence affecting the nation.

The businessman said this was the second time he had fallen victim to robbers, but noted he had no thoughts of moving.

“I have been living in this community since 1983 and have been operating my store for 25 years now, and I am not planning to move right now,” he said. “What I would love to see is greater police vigilance in the community.”

The police have so far taken statements from the businessman, but no arrests have been made.

“I haven’t heard anything else from them since this morning, no arrests or anything,” he said.

Thursday, Jul. 10, 2008

Miracle Girl Survives Tractor Accident

A six-year-old girl remains hospitalized in serious condition after she fell off a tractor last week and was caught under the machine’s mower, according to family members.

Jessie Keaton was riding a tractor last Tuesday afternoon when her father, Jason Keaton, was apparently distracted by his five-year-old son, Jason, who was also on the vehicle while Keaton was operating the bush hog. The boy was not injured.

Brenda Jester, Jessie’s aunt, described the accident, which occurred around 3:30 p.m. She spoke Monday night with Jason Keaton and the girl’s mother, Loretta Lynn McGee.

“He told me that it all happened in a blink of an eye,” Jester said.”All he remembers is that the tractor had run over her and she was under the bush hog . . . The little brother saw that. He was talking to his daddy and got him distracted . . . They were just about done for the day. It just happened so fast.”

Keaton immediately jumped off the tractor on his property off U.S. 601 South near the Davie/Yadkin county lines and called 911. Emergency first responders, including members of the Courtney Volunteer Fire Department and the Yadkin County EMS, rushed to the scene. Although critically injured, Jester said that Jessie was still conscious.

She remains at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem where Jester said she had undergone several operations. Jester said that doctors, despite their best efforts, were forced to amputate Jessie’s right leg below the knee, and part of her left ring finger. Doctors, who have kept the girl heavily sedated for most of her hospital stay, were also tending to a large cut to the back of her head, Jester said.

“The worst of it is over,” Jester said. “She has another surgeryscheduled for Thursday. Her left foot is still a little iffy and her hands had real bad cuts on the palms . . . But she is really improving. She was more alert and hungry this morning before she went into surgery. Right now, it’s just a waiting game. We just hope it continues to get better.”

Jester said that the father is inconsolable.

“He’s been there at the hospital nonstop. But he’s blaming himself,” Jester said. “He always had the young-ins with him in the yard when he was working. It was a habit; not a good habit.”

Jessie’s mother, Jester said, is undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

“She’s holding up pretty good,” Jester said. “She has not leftthe hospital.”

The family has medical insurance. But there’s no way to estimate how long and costly Jessie’s hospital stay will be.

“It’s just like anything else,” Jester said. “It will only pay so much.”

Zola Murphy, Jessie’s grandmother, was emotionally devastated when she first learned of the accident. She said that she still can’t get the terrible image of her granddaughter’s near-death experience out of her mind.

“I’ve done cried all I can cry,” Murphy said Monday. “She’s justa little miracle girl.”

Jester said that the family has been overwhelmed by the community’s response. So many have telephoned or visited the hospital, she said.

“The people have come down here left and right,” Jester said.”All of my prayers are working. Jessie is doing so much better today.”

Wife’s medical miracle helps husband survive heart attack

The fact that John Seville can tell this story is incredible.

“Once I found out I did die, it was extremely terrifying,” the 41-year-old New Jersey police officer said.

Seville was in his garden three months ago when he felt something terribly wrong.

“My legs felt cold. It felt like I had snow blindness,” he said.

Minutes after arriving at this hospital, Seville went into cardiac arrest; he flat-lined, no heartbeat.

“At that particular point in time, he’s dead. The question is: Is he going to remain dead,” Morristown Memorial Hospital Heart Dr. James Slater said. “He’s fallen off the cliff. We reach, we grab, we pull him back.”

Injecting medications started Seville’s heart again. However, doctors discovered another emergency: A deadly tear in his aorta, the major blood vessel in the body. A five-and-a-half hour operation repaired that blood vessel, but by now, many of his organs were failing, including his brain.

Three days after the surgery, the patient was only minimally conscious, paralyzed on his left side and making a little progress.

“He was on a ventilator, and I was afraid he would never be off of it,” Seville’s wife, Connie, said.

That’s when Connie 40 weeks pregnant with their second child went into labor. In that very same hospital, two floors down Levi Seville was born. Within hours, Connie decided this baby might hold the key to her husband’s recovery.

“The nursery brought the baby down with Connie and held him up to his face,” nurse Vicky Dunn said. “And he just cracked the biggest smile on his face. The unit got quiet, and then you just heard people crying. It was a beautiful sight. Then we just knew: He’s gonna make it.”

For the next several weeks, John’s recovery amazed even his doctors. Day by day, he gained strength and lost most of the paralysis.

Finally, it was time to head home. With a “thank you” to his doctors and nurses the Sevilles were soon back together again.

“Just to be able to come home and hug them, and just say ‘I love you,'” John said. “For a while there, you never know if you’re going to have that opportunity. It ‘s incredible.”

Wednesday, Jul. 9, 2008

Miracle Baby Turns 18

‘A Miracle Baby’ were the best words to describe little Cherie Maguire when she was born in 1990 weighing only 26ozs! Despite an amazing struggle to survive, the now very healthy Enniskillen girl has never looked back. She has just completed her A-levels at St Fanchea’s College and this week, celebrated her 18th birthday.

“Now is a time for reminiscing I suppose,” Cherie’s mother Geraldine told the ‘Herald’ this week.

“And back in those days, you would never have thought Cherie would make 18 at all because it was so touch and go.”

When Cherie, the daughter of Geraldine and Jimmy from Glenwood Gardens, was first delivered at the Jubilee Maternity Unit in Belfast, she fitted neatly into the palm of her mother’s hand while her father could easily slip his wedding ring onto her leg.

It was an anxious and stressful time for Jimmy and Geraldine, and Cherie’s older sister Melissa. The family had lost a baby girl also delivered at 29 weeks, nine months previously, and when problems developed with this pregnancy, consultants at the Erne took the decision to transfer Geraldine to the Royal Maternity Unit. However, when doctors there examined Geraldine they realised Cherie would have to be delivered almost immediately if she was going to have any hope of survival, but with no incubators available at the Royal, Geraldine was transferred to the Jubilee Maternity Unit. The following morning she underwent a caesarean operation and Cherie was brought into the world at 10am weighing 1lb 10ozs.

“She was so tiny and looked so vulnerable and surrounded by so much hi-tech equipment it was hard to believe she had any chance of survival,” Jimmy said at the time.

Geraldine didn’t see her baby until that afternoon and her initial reaction was that she didn’t look like a baby at all, more like a foetus surrounded by a mass of tubes and monitors. She noted that it was unusual for Cherie’s eyes to be open for such a premature baby and they were a striking shade of dark blue, looking huge against the rest of her tiny body. At that initial stage, staff in the unit were not optimistic and held little hope, and Geraldine herself experienced a mix of feelings, both pleasure that Cherie was alive and fear for the future.

“I didn’t want to get too close to her because I thought if she died it wouldn’t hurt so much then.”

Cherie however, was determined to live and became a real little fighter. She overcame feeding difficulties which saw her weight drop to 19ozs, a bowel infection, breathing difficulties and a heart murmur. Gradually, Cherie started to put on weight and three months later was allowed to return home. Having heard the stories from her family and having seen the newspaper clippings marking her survival story, Cherie, an award winning Irish dancer, knows looking back now, that she was, as the headlines suggested, a miracle child.

“I don’t know how I survived to be honest,” she remarked.

Awaiting the results of her A-levels, she is currently working in Flo’s Restaurant in Enniskillen and hopes come September to study for a HND in Health and Social Care at the South West College and progress from there, to study for a degree in nursing at university. And, despite being naturally small, Cherie is now one young, fit and healthy adult.

“I’m very small, just 5ft so I’m very tiny. I have size three feet and wear small clothes.”

Monday, Jul. 7, 2008

Irish twins saved by miracle operation in womb

The parents of baby twins who defied death due to groundbreaking surgery in the womb have thanked the hospital that saved them.

Fidelma and Paul Greene, from Swords, Dublin, said yesterday their daughters, Lauren and Sophie, were thriving three months after being born.

Their unborn children had been given almost no chance of survival when Rotunda Hospital medics discovered they suffered from a rare medical condition.

Doctors diagnosed them with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) when their mother was 21 weeks pregnant.

The condition means one baby gets too much blood and the other too little. In almost all cases it leads to death of both twins, if it’s not treated.

Consultant obstetrician, Professor Fergal Malone, decided the foetuses had to be operated on while they were still inside their mother’s womb if they were to have any chance of surviving.

He performed the life-saving procedure in the hospital’s new foetal operating theatre on January 10 this year. The operation involved the obstetrician and his team inserting a camera, less than an eighth of a inch thick, and other tiny surgical instruments, into the womb.

The camera helped the team identify abnormal blood vessels, which were then repaired using laser therapy.

The girls were born by caesarean section three months later on April 7.

Lauren and Sophie are among the first children in Ireland to survive the pioneering surgery. It also saved the lives of twin boys Ryan and Dylan Kershaw, who were born in March last year.

The radical surgery was previously available in only a handful of clinics in Europe and North America.

Mr and Mrs Green said their babies would not have survived without Professor Malone and his team and thanked them for their care. “Paul and I are absolutely delighted that this story has had such a happy ending,” said Mrs Green (43).

“We would like to thank all the staff in The Rotunda for their excellent care and professionalism. Lauren was discharged home with me after five days and Sophie joined us at home nine days later. Now the girls are three months old and are thriving.”

Professor Malone said almost a third of all twin pregnancies were identical, and up to a quarter of identical twins could develop Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

“When one considers that up until recently survival for these babies was so poor, it is gratifying to see the Irish health service investing in new technology that provides such an immediately apparent benefit to our patients.”

Monday, Jun. 9, 2008

Miracle of baby girl born twice

A baby was last night hailed a miracle by her mum and dad – after being born TWICE.

The child was first taken out of the womb after a scan showed she had a giant tumour on her lower back six months into the pregnancy.

Surgeons removed the growth, put the foetus back inside her mum and she was born again through normal delivery 10 weeks later.

Macie Hope is now a healthy baby and mum Keri McCarthy, 40, and dad Chad were due to take her home from hospital today to their four other children in Texas.

Head surgeon Dr Darrell Cass said the tumour had been as large as a grapefruit.

He added: “This is incredibly rare. We were lucky.”

Chad, 39, said: “We had been told that there was less than a 10 per cent chance that she was going to make it.”

Mother and child have remained in hospital since the premature birth on May 3 as the baby girl gained strength.

Our Miracle Baby Boy

A Baby boy who contracted killer disease meningitis at just one month old will celebrate his first birthday tomorrow.

Jake Crabtree is a little miracle to his family who were devastated to find he had the deadly infection so soon after he was born at Scunthorpe General Hospital.

Now, on the eve of his first birthday, three generations of his family have spoken about the frightening trauma.

They hope Jake has not suffered any permanent damage from the attack – and the signs are good.

Mum Victoria Crabtree (17), of Queen’s Crescent, Keadby, said: “When he was four to five weeks old, he had bacterial meningitis. It was awful, I cried.

“He had fluid taken from his spine and was put on antibiotics.

“The staff at Scunthorpe General Hospital were absolutely fantastic.

“It took him about 14 days to get back to himself.

“He’s been for further check-ups, he had a hearing test recently and that was fine.”

He has taken his first steps and started saying his first words.

When he fell ill, Jake did not immediately display the distinctive meningitis rash, but his family noticed he was not well.

Grandma Michelle Crabtree (33) said: “He hadn’t been his usual self and wouldn’t settle.

“It was my husband who said ‘take him to the hospital because there’s something not right’.

“He didn’t get the rash until two days after he was in hospital

“It’s not always the rash that comes first. They did tests on him and had him wired up to machines for two to three days.

“Doctors said he could have learning disabilities when he gets older, and at the moment his immune system has completely gone.

“I don’t think he will have learning difficulties because he picks things up quickly.”

Victoria, who is expecting her second child this Christmas, stayed in hospital with her baby for 10 days and the family’s experience of both the birth and the illness has been written down to help anyone else going through the same situation.

Michelle said: “When Victoria gave birth to him I made an information website about teenage pregnancies and put a meningitis advice section on there when he was diagnosed.”

Great-grandma Norma Eaton (53) said: “It was devastating news at the time. Worry, stress you name it, it was there.

“It started off when he was poorly, while he was really ill for three to four days, we didn’t know what was going to happen.

“We wouldn’t like to put him through that again or see anybody else go through it because it’s not nice.

“When a friend of mine celebrated her 65th birthday, instead of having presents she organised a charity night and raised £500 for Disney Ward at Scunthorpe General Hospital where Jake was treated.”

Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2008

Miracle baby beats 1-in-a-million odds to survive growing in mum’s ovary

A MIRACLE baby born fit and well after growing in her mum’s ovary was hailed as one in a million yesterday.

Little Durga Thangarajah stretched the ovary so tight that her hair and face were visible through it.

The organ could have ruptured at any moment, killing the tot and putting mum Meera’s life at risk.

But apart from a spot of morning sickness, Meera had a healthy 38-week pregnancy and had no idea anything was wrong.

And her doctors didn’t realise that Durga was in her ovary until they began delivering her by Caesarean.

Durga, who arrived weighing 6lb 3oz, was only allowed to grow to full term because Meera didn’t have a scan early in her pregnancy.

If her condition, called an ectopic pregnancy, had been discovered, the baby would probably have been aborted to safeguard Meera’s health.

Only one in 100,000 successful deliveries involve babies who have grown outside the womb and doctors reckon the odds of a successful ovarian birth are a million to one.

Dr Andrew Miller, who delivered Durga on Thursday at a private hospital in Darwin, Australia, said: “It’s an extraordinarily unusual outcome. I’m not aware of anyone who has had a fulltermovarian pregnancy.

“It truly is a miracle that Meera got a living baby.”

Meera said: “I didn’t know anything about it until I woke up after the Caesarean and the doctors told me. I’m feeling like the luckiest woman in the world.”

Durga’s dad Ravi, 40, added: “We expected a normal Caesarean but the doctors told me it was like a miracle baby.

They said, ‘You’re one of the luckiest men in the world at the moment.'”

Tuesday, Jun. 3, 2008

Farmer’s miracle survival after being hit by truck

Family of a Featherston farm bike rider are stunned “the tough old bugger” survived a collision with a truck that ran him over on Friday.

Donald Fuge, 67, was yesterday awaiting transfer back to Wairarapa Hospital after having facial surgery at Hutt Valley Hospital to repair a head wound that had exposed his skull.

“I’m feeling good as gold now. It was just a bit of skin off the top of the head,” he said.

Mr Fuge, a horse trainer and dairy farmer, was on his way to shift stock when he turned in front of a truck on State Highway 53 near Tauherenikau that was travelling behind him about 3:30 on Friday afternoon.

“I don’t remember anything about the crash and have no idea how it happened,” he said.

“I guess I’m pretty lucky it wasn’t any worse.”

His wife Beth was still in shock yesterday as she described her husband being “up and talking as if nothing happened to him”.

“It’s quite miraculous considering he doesn’t even have any broken bones.”

Mrs Fuge had spoken to her husband by cellphone shortly before the crash and he had told her he was going to shift some stock.

“It must have just happened as I was getting home but because he was around at the bottom farm I didn’t come across it. When I got home there was a message on the answer phone saying he was being taken to hospital.

“I followed up after the ambulance and then he was transferred to the Hutt and had surgery right away.”

She said his recovery is “remarkable, he’s fooled everybody”.

“No one can believe how well he’s doing and everyone is saying it’s because he’s a tough old bugger.”

The site of the crash is known as a “dangerous corner”, she said.

“We always pull into the middle of the road when turning because if you pull to the side you can’t see if anything is coming. It’s always been very dangerous.”

Mrs Fuge said their granddaughter had been feeling guilty after the crash “because she had asked for help to get the stock back in the paddock and that’s where he was going when it happened”.

“Donald’s told her to stop being silly and if it had been her fault he would have kicked her up the butt by now.”

She said the only concern with his injuries is that his eye socket is in danger of collapsing once the swelling goes down.

“That’s why they’ve keep him at the Hutt but it looks like they will transfer him back to Masterton and just see how it goes.”

Saturday, May. 31, 2008

It was just a miracle

The gun went off, and Karl Hauer fell to the ground.

Beside a pick-up full of hunting gear, his brother Dan stood in shock.

“I heard the shot,” Astoria resident Dan Hauer recalls, “but it took me awhile to comprehend what actually happened.”

The group of four hunters had just moved to a new spot in the woods off Oregon Highway 202 near Simmons Field, where they hoped to bag some deer Oct. 6. While he was arranging gear in the truck bed, Karl set the butt of his hunting rifle beside a downed tree and rested the muzzle against the truck.

The hammer, which releases the trigger, was locked down – “completely seated,” Karl said later – but when he grabbed the gun to pick it back up, it caught on hard a branch and sent a bullet blasting straight up through his chest and lower jaw.

The impact knocked him down and filled his mouth with blood and pieces of bone and teeth.

Moments later, his brother rushed to his side.

“I was lying on the ground, drowning on what was left of my face,” Karl said. “I looked into my brother’s eyes and thought: ‘Is this really happening?'”

The bullet left a large flesh wound on the left side of Karl’s chest before exiting his body and hitting his lower left jaw. But it missed his upper jaw on its way up and just grazed his left brow bone.

He was lucky.

“It’s just a miracle how it happened,” Dan said. “It just missed all the organs in his chest. Had the angle been a little bit different, it would have been a lot worse.”

Both brothers grew up in Astoria and say they have been known to pass out at the sight of a paper cut.

But out in the woods, six miles up a pot-holed logging road, and 18 miles down Highway 202 from Astoria, “We didn’t have time to stop,” Dan said.

Not knowing how much damage the bullet had done, Dan and family friends, Abiel Buenrostro and Anjee Taylor, gingerly loaded Karl into the back of their Jeep.

Karl used his left arm to contain his chest wound and Taylor pressed a towel to his face.

Then, with Buenrostro in the driver’s seat, they took off as fast as they could safely go down the waterlogged gravel road.

They wanted to call an ambulance, but there was no cell phone service to be found – even as they got closer to the highway.

“Now what do we do?” Dan remembers thinking. “Then I remembered I had my dad’s amateur radio.”

Dan and Karl learned early in life to take extra precautions when going out into the woods. Their father, Ed Hauer, works with the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team; he and Dan are licensed ham radio operators.

“Initially, we couldn’t hear anything,” Dan said. But at the peak of a hill, he tuned in to a signal from Gearhart amateur radio operator Loren Wohlgemuth, who then called 9-1-1 for them.

“It was phenomenal,” said Karl. “We were still bumping along the logging road when I remember hearing them on the radio saying ‘help is on the way.'”

“It was such a huge relief to us,” said Dan. “I thought, ‘Things are finally starting to go our way.'”

They were still only a few miles from the accident site, though, and the radio signal cut out as they drove into a valley. When they could, they gave Wohlgemuth updates on their location.

Meanwhile, Dan, Taylor and Buenrostro kept talking to Karl. They’d ask him how he was doing, and he’d respond with hand signals: thumbs up or thumbs down.

Through choking bouts and discomfort throughout the drive, Karl said he prayed and tried to stay calm.

“People are helping. God’s in control,” he told himself. “Just don’t go into shock.”

Karl stayed conscious throughout the drive. At the Klatskanine Fish Hatchery, the Jeep met up with a Clatsop County Sheriff’s deputy, who led them to an ambulance and medical technicians at the Olney-Walluski Volunteer Fire and Rescue station.

Wohlgemuth’s help shaved valuable minutes off the emergency response time, said Ed Hauer, who’s learned from countless missions searching for the lost and injured that there’s a “golden hour” after any incident. “If you make the right things happen in that golden hour,” he said, “your chances of surviving are greatly increased.”

Dan said other than the gun shot, a lot of things went right that day.

“Everything that needed to happen happened in the time frame we needed to get treatment,” he said.

Dan said he didn’t know how severe Karl’s injuries were until he saw the emergency response personnel cut his raincoat off to reveal a gaping chest wound.

Karl was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital, where he was stabilized and sent via ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

He’d left for the hunting trip at about 9 a.m that morning. At 11 p.m. doctors began a nightlong effort, involving several surgeries, to close up his chest and repair his shattered jaw.

The bullet knocked out five of his teeth and left him with dozens of staples in his chest, a titanium plate in his jaw, nerve damage on his left cheek and some hearing loss from the sound of the gun shot. But his recovery has been swift. He was released from the hospital Oct. 18.

In retrospect, Karl said, he could have employed all three of the safety mechanisms built into his rifle instead of just one. The accident was “just dumb luck,” he said, “but it definitely could have been prevented.”

Karl lives in Hillsboro with his wife and four sons, but he spends a lot of his free time in the woods on the North Coast.

Miracle baby born after full-term ovarian pregnancy

Surviving all odds, baby Durga has become perhaps the world’s first baby to be born after a full-term ovarian pregnancy at the Darwin Private Hospital in Australia’s Northern Territory. Ovarian pregnancies – where the foetus grows in the ovary instead of the uterus – are a one in 40,000 occurrence and usually terminate before 10 weeks, but a healthy 2.8 kg baby Durga arrived in the world Thursday morning after a full term 38 week pregnancy.

The baby’s Sri Lankan parents, Ravi and Meera Thangarajah, who had migrated to Australia 20 years ago, were thrilled at what doctors are calling a “miracle baby”.

“The doctor and the paediatrician came in and told me it was like a miracle baby, you’re one of the luckiest men in the world at the moment,” said 40-year-old Ravi, who is an IT consultant.

Meera, 34, who works as an administrative officer at the Charles Darwin University, had no inkling that the pregnancy was not normal until she underwent a caesarean section at the hospital.

When doctors began the caesarean operation, they were shocked to find the baby had grown inside Meera’s ovary, a kind of a risky ectopic pregnancy.

According to reports, her scans over recent months showed nothing untoward and it was only in the operation theatre that the doctors discovered the egg had fertilised in the ovary instead of the uterus.

Had the ectopic pregnancy been detected in the early stages, Meera would have been advised by doctors to abort the pregnancy.

An ovarian pregnancy can cause life threatening complications for both mother and child. It causes severe pain and bleeding in the early weeks of pregnancy for most women, but astonishingly Meera had no symptoms.

Obstetrician Andrew Miller told the local media that an ovarian pregnancy to go through to a full-term baby was “unheard of”.

“She’s an extremely lucky lady to be here with a live baby at 38 weeks with an ovarian pregnancy,” he said.

Midwife Dee Keogh told the media: “We could see the baby straight away. Normally the baby is inside the uterus, which we have to cut open, but in this case the baby was just inside a thin membrane … We could see the baby clearly, its hair, all its features. I think everybody just thought wow – she is one lucky lady.”

As for being named after the Hindu Goddess Durga, the parents told IANS: “It was chosen before the baby was born simply because we liked it.” Durga is a little sister for six-year-old Gayatri.

Wednesday, May. 14, 2008

Miracle man a smart nickname for survivor

In the past two years, his wife, Merlie, and their seven children have said “goodbye” to him four times, most recently last month.
Each time it has been unnecessary.

Mr Smart had a hip replacement in February at the Burnie hospital but was rushed back two months later with internal bleeding.

“(The doctors) couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Mrs Smart said.

“They led us to believe he was bleeding to death and they didn’t know how to stop it.”

Medical staff told Mrs Smart to contact her family, which includes children in Western Australia.

“It took two days for them to get here. We had to hope he hung on.”

He did.

Mr and Mrs Smart struggle to convey their gratitude to the hospital staff that “brought him back to life”.

They have sent chocolates but they say that is not enough.

“The doctors were there 24 hours a day and they stopped the bleeding. They brought him back,” Mrs Smart said.

“I certainly believe in miracles because I’ve seen one happen, but it wouldn’t have happened if the doctors didn’t do what they did.”

It was the second time Mrs Smart thought she was losing her husband of 54 years.

Two years ago, Mr Smart was admitted to the Launceston General Hospital after a heart attack and a few days later with intense pain caused by a haemorrhage.

Again, the family was called to say goodbye – twice.

“I was given a 50-50 chance of coming out of it,” Mr Smart said.

Going through the ordeal then was trying on the family, who had prepared themselves for the worst.

But to face the same situation only two years later, Mrs Smart said was hard.

The Smarts said the support they received at the Burnie hospital helped them through.

“There was a male nurse who sat with me for four nights, he never left my side,” Mr Smart said.

And it seems the experience has also left an impression at the hospital.

Mrs Smart said when she rang recently and mentioned her husband’s name the reply was “ah the miracle man”.

Friday, May. 9, 2008

Woman saw tornado hit her farm but house stands

A northwest Iowa couple watched a tornado strike their farm home and today are amazed they didn’t suffer more damage.

“It’s a miracle the house is still standing,” said Donna Bos, who farms with her husband, Ron, east of Inwood.

“We lost a barn. We lost an old garage. A couple of sheds are pretty damaged. It’s a mess. The attached garage has damage but the house is fine. It’s unbelievable everything is fine in the house.”

Bos had driven Thursday evening to her job at the Inwood library, where she is director.

“I had gone to work,” she said. “The power had gone off, so we closed down. I was going to drive home, but I saw the tornado heading toward our place. My brother- and sister-in-law live along the highway, so I stopped stayed there. We watched it hit our place.”

She said she was watching from three-quarters of a mile away.

“My husband is a volunteer fireman and a trained storm spotter. He was sitting a fourth-mile away and he watched it hit.”

Bos said she thought the tornado came from the southeast. Her husband planted corn Wednesday and Thursday. “There’s a lot of debris out in the field,” she said.

Thursday, May. 8, 2008

Miracle: A Story Of Healing

Tyrone Hickman II, 14, said he was healed of a serious disease because of his family’s faith in God.

“Trust in his word and just do what you got to do,” Hickman said.

Tyrone’s amazing story began before he was born. Pat and Tyrone Hickman decided not to have more children after their first child, 19-year-old Tyrah was born with sickle cell anemia.

Despite their plans, Tyrone was born five years later.

The elder Tyrone Hickman has a rare form of the disease that’s hard to detect called sickle cell thalassemia.

“It wasn’t until we had our first baby, we discovered he had the trait,” Pat Hickman said.

Sickle cell anemia is a condition in which red blood cells are sickle-shaped instead of smooth and round. The cells are stiff and clumpy and get stuck in blood vessels. Clumps of sickle cells can block the flow of blood to limbs and organs causing plain, serious infections and organ damage.

The Hicksmans are members of New Horizon church. They asked their pastor, Bishop Ronnie Crudup, to pray for healing for their unborn child.

“At the altar, he laid hands on me, on my stomach,” Pat Hickman said. “I can remember standing there and as he prayed it was if I went into a zone. I could hear I could actually hear this inner voice speaking to me. Saying he’s healed as the pastor was praying.”

The Hickmans said their pastor’s teachings about faith encouraged them.

“He turned out to be a healthy baby. He was hardly ever sick,” Pat Hickman said.

Seven years later, the Hickmans welcomed another surprise: a boy named Tyler.

“Forty years old and there I was, pregnant with another baby,” Pat Hickman said.

Then when Tyrone Hickman II was 11 years old, he had a stroke. Doctors determined that he was born with the same sickle cell trait as his father. Doctors recommended blood transfusions. The Hickmans decided against it.

The only other option was a bone marrow transplant. Their doctor reminded them about the blood saved when Tyler was born five years earlier.

“The doctor suggested we do cord blood collection and store his blood in case we ever want to do a bone marrow transplant for one of our children,” Pat Hickman said. “They could only store the blood for five years.”

Tyler Hickman was already 5 years old and the blood was nearing the end of its usefulness.

The Hickmans said they sought counseling from their pastor.

“He said God heals in different ways, this could be your healing,” Pat Hickman said.

At a Sunday service, the entire congregation prayed for Tyrone. Then he went into the hospital for 30 days to undergo chemotherapy and then the bone marrow transplant.

“Every morning at the hospital we would start off with prayer service,” Pat Hickman said. “Even though (Tyrone Hickman II) didn’t feel like it he would participate.”

After his hospital stay and 100 days of isolation to avoid infection, tests showed Tyrone Hickman II was cured.

“God had already spoken that Tyrone was going to be healed,” Pat Hickman said. “I didn’t know how he was going to do it. God knew and he knew Tyler had to be a part of that plan.”

Bishop Crudup is convinced Tyrone Hickman II’s healing is a miracle.

“It is an intervention typically of God into the affairs of men,” Crudup said.

A God who Tyrone Hickman II believes orchestrated amazing circumstances to heal him.

Wednesday, May. 7, 2008

Seven-year-old medical miracle

He’s a medical miracle. A local seven-year-old boy was dead for at least 12 minutes, but you would never be able to tell.

“I asked for a donut when I had heart surgery,” Cameron Knowles said nonchalantly. Cameron suffered a devastating heart condition on March 26th.

He’s not shy to show off the scar that covers most of his body. “Big scar,” exclaimed Cameron as he lifted up his shirt. “Woo hooo!”

The first grader is full of energy, but Cameron wasn’t so lively the morning of March 26th. “It was horrible,” said father Mark Knowles. “It’s a nightmare that we’re living over and over again every time we go to bed at night.”

Cameron’s parents Mark and Rebecca Knowles still aren’t sleeping at night. “I went him to check him, and he was gone,” said Mark with tears welling up in his eyes.

His son had suffered sudden cardiac arrest. “I reached down to feel a pulse, and I couldn’t find it,” Mark added. He screamed for Rebecca. She couldn’t find a pulse either.

Both have careers in the medical field. Mark is an EMT and dispatcher with Ridge Road Fire District. Rebecca works for a cardiologist. She immediately started CPR.

“Anything after five minutes and you start to lose significant brain function,” Rebecca said. Even if her son recovered, she knew the outlook wasn’t good. Cameron had been dead for at least 12 minutes. No one knew Cameron had Long QT syndrome. It’s a heart rhythm disorder that can cause sudden death.

“It can happen to anybody, and it can happen to any child,” warned Rebecca. “It’s more than a miracle,” Mark said of his son’s complete recovery. “He’s here for a reason.”

Friday afternoon, Cameron’s classmates at Holmes Road Elementary School honored him in their “Jump Rope for Heart” program. The kids raised $10,000 for the American Heart Association. “They made me better,” said Cameron of his classmates. Because of their encouragement, the quick response by his parents, first responders and doctors – Cameron is alive.

“I thank everybody,” Cameron said. And we found out this medical miracle also has a lucky lady. Her name is Katana Noble. We asked how long they’ve been dating. “Ten years,” exclaimed Cameron. “But you’re only seven,” said reporter Nikki Rudd. “I don’t care!” was Cameron’s smiling response. Katana later told us they’ve actually been dating for five years.

“We play together and sit next to each other in lunch,” Katana said quietly but with a beaming smile. Cameron says he’s lucky to have her and his smile says it all.

“He’s here for a reason,” said Rebecca. “He’s here to tell a story, and he’s here to put a face to Long QT syndrome.”

Cameron was on medication for ADHD before this happened. Some studies show those medications can cause Long QT syndrome. His parents want everyone to watch for the signs which include fainting.

Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2008

Miracle escape for cliff fall man

A man had a miracle escape when he fell from the top of 530ft-high cliffs at Beachy Head and had his fall broken by a narrow ledge.

The 46-year-old was walking along downland in the Gun Gardens area of Beachy Head, near Eastbourne, when he slipped down a grass slope.

His fall was cushioned by a ledge jutting out 80ft down the cliff-face, and he managed to survive the plunge with lacerations and possible spinal injuries.

The Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team, which responds to emergencies at the notorious suicide spot, alerted the Eastbourne coastguard rescue team.

A coastguard team member was lowered over the precarious cliff-top in high winds to stabilise the man, who has not been named, and provide him with initial aid.

In the meantime, a coastguard helicopter was scrambled from Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire, which helped winch a stretcher to the casualty.

The man, who was conscious throughout the incident from 4.20pm yesterday, was then airlifted to the Eastbourne District General Hospital.

Stuart McNab, the station officer for Eastbourne coastguard, said: “When we arrived, we identified that the casualty was still moving.

“He suffered lacerations and he was complaining of some pain to his right side, so we applied a collar to him in case he had spinal injuries.

“Exactly how he came to go over the cliffs is unclear but we know that it was an extremely windy day, so that may have been a factor in what happened.

“We would take this opportunity to ask people who walk along the cliff-top to be very mindful of the wind because a gust can put people over the edge.”

Beachy Head is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, but its height has made it a magnet for depressed people intent on committing suicide.

Signs from the Samaritans are posted nearby in an attempt to persuade people to seek help, and the chaplaincy team conduct regular day and evening patrols.

Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2008

Mother-of-two has miracle escape after freezing

A UK mother who almost froze to death when she became trapped in a ravine overnight is making an astonishing recovery.

Mandy Evans, 43, has been nicknamed the “Ice Maiden” after she managed to survive her body temperature plummeting by a third.

Emergency crews found her nine hours after she fell and airlifted her to hospital suffering from severe hypothermia.

Her temperature had dropped to a mere 25c (77f) from the normal 37c (98.6f).

Once below 30c (86f) major organs fail and the person is likely to die.

Doctors at Gwynedd Hospital in Bangor, North Wales, said Mrs Evans was the coldest patient they had ever treated.

“Mandy was critically ill when she was brought into accident and emergency,” said Dr Linda Dykes.

“The mortality rate for hypothermia when the temperature’s that low is very high.”

Mrs Evans was looking for her son Scott, 17, near their home in the early hours when she slipped on ice and fell into the ravine.

The mother of two was trapped for nine hours before she was found the next morning.

Doctors slowly heated her up by giving her warmed oxygen and liquids.

Dr Dykes added: “We passed warm air over blankets while we checked for other injuries she had received in the fall. Mandy’s recovery made our day.”

Mrs Evans from Wenallt, Dolgellau, North Wales, is expected to spend another week in hospital.

“I just want to thank everyone – I was so cold they nearly lost me twice,” she said.

“I’ve been told I’m in the record books now.

“The doctors say it’s amazing I’ve recovered so quickly.”

Mrs Evans, a care worker, said she fell down the ravine while she looked for her son at 2am. It is not known why she was looking for him or when he returned to the family home.

“I thought I saw Scott go up a path so I went after him. I lost my footing on the path and fell into a tree.

“I was hanging on to it upside down and trying to pull myself up.

“I thought to myself: “If I fall I will be dead”.

My clothes ripped and I fell. I ended up half in the river with my head on the rock.”

After she had been missing for several hours her family contacted the police.

Officers with dogs and a police helicopter with a thermal imaging camera were used in the search.

She was found at 11am.

The sheer drop of the ravine into the river Arran and surrounding thick woodland with overhanging trees hampered the rescue operation.

Rescue workers eventually had to carry Mrs Evans across the river to get her to the waiting RAF helicopter which took her to hospital.

Monday, Mar. 31, 2008

Pilot hailed as hero after British jet crash into house

The pilot of an executive jet that crashed in southern England, killing all five people on board, was hailed as a hero Monday for preventing more casualties on the ground.

The twin-engined Cessna jet plummeted into a housing estate Sunday shortly after taking off from Biggin Hill Airport in southeast England heading for Pau in southwest France.

Pilot Mike Roberts, who died in the crash, was widely praised as a hero for managing to avoid a higher loss of life by steering the stricken plane away from other houses in Farnborough, Kent.

“Everybody will see there were some heroic efforts to reduce the number of casualties,” said Chief Superintendent Charles Griggs of the Metropolitan Police.

Police said the dead also included David Leslie, a 54-year-old racing driver and former winner of the British Touring Car Championship, and Richard Lloyd, manager of the Apex Jaguar motor racing team.

They were reportedly going to France for a practice session.

The owners of the house that the jet clipped before it plunged into the ground were away on holiday.

Peter Hale, one of the sons of the house’s owners, said his parents had been extraordinarily fortunate.

“There would have been no chance if they had been in the property, and on a normal Sunday afternoon they would have been about,” he said.

“We’re thankful they’re alive, they’re thankful they’re alive.”

The garage of a second house was destroyed and a car parked nearby was turned into a charred wreck.

The plane was five miles (eight kilometres) from the airport when the pilot issued a mayday call. It was around two miles north of the airport when it crashed.

Air accident investigators said that like many private jets, the plane was not fitted with a “black box” flight data recorder.

A statement released by the US government’s National Transportation Safety Board said the Federal Aviation Administration and the manufacturers of the plane were sending investigators to assist British experts in establishing the cause of the crash.

Girl’s survival a family miracle

When little Bethany Greenall was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour aged 13 months, her parents were told she would be lucky to reach her fifth birthday.But 10 years on, the plucky youngster from Murton has proved the medics wrong.

Despite undergoing four operations to remove the tumour, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, specialists have concluded that 10 per cent of it will never go away.

As a result, the 11-year-old has learning and behavioural difficulties, as well as severe epilepsy.

Bethany, who attends Parkland primary’s special teaching facility, has been prescribed anti-epilepsy drugs and goes for check-ups every six months.

In what has been a difficult 10 years for the family, they have been grateful for the support they have received from the Joshua Foundation, which provides holidays and experiences for children with cancer and their families.

Bethany’s mum, Jeanette Aldridge, said: “Bethany will never be cured medically and has to live with the effects of the tumour on a daily basis. Doctors can’t give us a proper prognosis as they don’t know enough about the cancer – it’s that rare.

“The good news is that the tumour hasn’t grown in the past three years. The charity has really helped to bring some normality to our family life.

“Unlike other charities where you have to meet certain criteria to qualify for their help, they have always been on hand to offer really fun opportunities and great memories for the girls.”

The family first met the Joshua Foundation in 2005 when they were invited to attend the charity’s Halloween party in Cardiff.

For the past three years Bethany and her sisters Lucy, aged nine, Ruth, aged eight, and Kira, aged two, have been all-expense-paid guests at events organised by the charity.

Jeanette, who moved to South Wales from Liverpool four years ago, said: “We go to every event they organise – Christmas parties, Easter parties and days out with other families.

“They send limos to pick us up and we stay at nice hotels, never having to pay a penny ourselves. I really appreciate the help, especially since my family are based in Liverpool.”

Jeanette’s brother, Neill Leisk, has run the Liverpool Half Marathon to raise £700 for the Joshua Foundation in thanks.

The family were hoping to give a little support back to the charity themselves by attending a sponsored walk at Blackpill on Friday evening, but Bethany was not feeling well enough.

But they hope to give other support to the charity which has been such a rock for them over the past decade.

“It has been a lifeline for us,” said Jeanette.

A spokesman for the Joshua Foundation said: “The Joshua Foundation was created in September 1998 to provide holidays and experiences for children and their families where the child is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

“Whereas other wish organisations provide one-off experiences, the Joshua Foundation effectively ‘adopts’ children and their families providing them with on-going experiences and memories.”

Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2008

Happy to be alive: The miracle woman who beat death twice

TO cheat death once is lucky. To cheat it twice is little less than a miracle. Yet one woman is living proof that miracles do happen.

Sheila Dolan knows she shouldn’t be here after beating breast cancer and a blood cot on the brain but she’s not about to apologise for her extraordinary good fortune.

Like so many who have dodged the reaper’s scythe, she is just happy to be alive.

She doesn’t mope about po-faced and whinge about her ordeal – she cracks jokes, frequently, and with all the pitch-perfect timing of a seasoned stand-up comedian.

Mrs Dolan, a 54-year-old solicitor at Parkinson Wright in Worcester, said: “I remember my brother Alan said to me, You’re like a cat with nine lives but pack it in now, you’re going to run out’.

“It was quite a journey, a frightening journey but I’m blessed with good family, friends and colleagues who supported me.

“A lot of people in the same situation may decide to lie down and die or cry or shout but what’s that going to do for you? You might as well have a laugh and a joke and take it as best you can.”

She was left with an egg-shaped bruise on her temple but thought little more of it until it began to develop into a huge bruise, covering the entire left-hand side of her face.

Mrs Dolan said it looked so bad her husband was afraid to be seen with her in case people thought he had beaten her up.

Mrs Dolan prides herself on her high pain threshold but the crushing vice-like pressure in her head remains the most intense agony she has ever felt.

The sensation reminded her of a mediaeval torture device she had once seen on holiday in Tuscany – it was like a having metal band around her head and some invisible inquisitor was tightening the screw.

Just when she thought the pain could not get any worse, it did, and all she could do was keep herself topped up with high-strength painkillers.

She went to her doctor three times following the fall at the end of April because of the splitting headaches.

Mrs Dolan knew something was wrong as she had never suffered headaches before and is not the sickly type, keeping physically fit with badminton and regular sessions at the gym.

However, doctors could not find out what was causing the headaches so she arranged for a private scan.

Before she had the scan she collapsed at her home in Abberley, near Worcester, on Tuesday, June 12, last year.

She was discovered by her husband of 14 years, Andrew, lying unconscious and was taken to A&E at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester where she was told she had a chronic subdural haematoma – the technical name for a blood clot on the brain.

Even before surgery Mrs Dolan was lucky to be alive because surgeons discovered two clots on the brain, an earlier one which she had not known about and another, triggered by the fall.

As her condition worsened she was taken to hospital in Coventry in the middle of the night for the emergency surgery that saved her life.

She still has two dents in her head where they drilled holes to drain away the blood.

They could not drain all the blood away immediately as this would increase the risk of her getting an infection and she was told she could not drive for six months because of the risk of fits or seizures.

Surgeons said there was a risk she could have been brain-damaged and suffer epilepsy for the rest of her life but, mercifully, none of these symptoms have developed.

Mrs Dolan said: “When I woke up in the hospital I did not know where I was. I had an oxygen mask on and there were all these tubes sticking in me. I said to my husband, Stop messing about, I want to go home now’. I thought the surgeon was in on the joke too. It must have been because I was still high on all the morphine they had been giving me.

“It must have been horrendous for my husband. He was just told I was having emergency brain surgery and that’s scary but he has been an absolute rock to me. He has been marvellous. Every woman should have a husband like Andrew.”

She does not remember the days before her operation and believes she may have blacked out the memory because of the pain.

Mrs Dolan, who has only recently become a grandmother, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and had the lump removed at Worcester’s South Bank Hospital in Bath Road before she had six months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy until she was given the all-clear.

She said a belief in the life of the spirit after death had helped to keep her going during both her battles when others might have given up.

“You have to embrace life and all these type of things are character building. Somebody up there must be looking after me” she said.

“It must be pretty good up there – nobody ever comes back.”

Tuesday, Mar. 25, 2008

1-in-10,000 Wonder Boy

A Little boy who, just 18 months ago, was unable to move and was given a one-in-10,000 chance of survival, is now clambering about.

Matthew Frost’s parents have described their son as a “little walking miracle” because of his remarkable progress.

The three-year-old was born with a heart complaint called tetralogy of Fallots and contracted an infection after heart surgery when he was 18 months old. The infection left him on a life-support machine for five days and caused him to lose a leg and some of his fingers. At one stage, he was given only a 0.01 per cent chance of survival.

But Matthew’s recovery has been incredible and his parents say it is nothing short of a miracle.

Mum Claire Frost said: “He is a little walking miracle. Everyone cannot believe how much he has come on. Eighteen months ago, he could only move his eyes and we were told he would never be able to walk.

“Yet now he is crawling and climbing up on the settee.”

Dad Mark Frost, 34, said there had been “some very dark times”, including periods when they were told their only child at the time could be left deaf, dumb and brain damaged, or that he could even die.

Mr Frost said: “In September 2006, scans showed signs of brain damage but that seems to have corrected itself and he has been discharged from the brain clinic. If you ever want to see a miracle, then here is one. It’s just incredible from where we’ve been to where we are now.”

Matthew has regular check-ups and physiotherapy sessions at Derbyshire Children’s Hospital.

He was recently given a “whizzy bug”, an electrically-powered vehicle to help him get around.

The Frosts, of Benner Avenue, Ilkeston, have been talking to doctors at Nottingham City Hospital about Matthew having a false limb fitted.

Last year, the Frosts began fund-raising as a gesture of thanks for the medical care that Matthew had received from five hospitals in the region, including Derbyshire Children’s.

They have now raised £10,297 for Heartlink, a charity that supports the parents of children with heart defects.

The charity, based at Glenfield Hospital, in Leicester, is raising £161,000 for a 4D ultrasound scanner, which is able to show highly detailed images of the heart.

The Frosts also feel thankful to medics for another reason.

Their second son, Richard, who will be one next month, was born with Erb’s palsy, a condition that is caused by a traumatic birth and affects movement and feeling in one arm.

But Mr Frost said that, although Richard did not have full movement in his right arm, his condition had massively improved with the help of Derbyshire Children’s Hospital.

Family celebrates Easter miracle

As Mary Clark made last-minute Easter Sunday preparations to her Bridgeport, Calif., home Saturday, she did so thinking about her mother, Loretta Williams.

Williams, 88, a Northern Nevada resident since 1982, had lived with Mary and her husband, Chuck, for two years – but in January her health began to fail. She took up residence at Evergreen Healthcare Management in Gardnerville on January 23.

Though Clark describes her mother as “frail but feisty,” all in the family knew Williams’ time would be short.

Mid-morning Saturday, the call came.

“The phone rang, and it was Evergreen,” Clark said. “And it was one of those phone calls where you just kind of say ‘OK, this is it’ – you just kind of know.

The nursing facility’s staff told Clark her mother passed away peacefully at 11:43 a.m.

“I said, ‘OK this makes sense’,” Clark said, noting that her father passed away on March 22, 1982 – 26 years ago to the day. “I thought, this is good, mom just wants to be with dad.”

And so, Clark began sending e-mails and starting a phone tree – first to her three siblings and then to extended family – in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren.

“I was on the phone for an hour and we’re going into grieving mode,” she said. “Eventually I checked my voicemail, and there was another message from Evergreen – they wanted me to call.”

Clark called, and said when the nurse on duty picked up the line – there was a pause.

“I was wondering what was wrong,” Clark said. “And then (the nurse) said, ‘Do you believe in Easter miracles?'”

Loretta Williams was alive.

According to the family, at 1:09 p.m., Loretta Williams, who was reportedly lying in a body bag and undergoing a final examination by a doctor, readied to be taken away by staff from Walton’s Family of Funeral Homes, opened her eyes.

“They said she just came back,” Clark said. “When they called it the first time, they said she had no heartbeat, her pupils were fixed and dilated. They were getting her ready to (take away) and she was breathing and her eyes were open.”

“I didn’t really believe in miracles, but I do now.”

Staff from Evergreen would not comment Sunday.

Mike Crews, who was the Walton’s representative called to Evergreen Saturday, said Williams was, in fact, pronounced dead – at least for a little bit.

“Um, yep – all I know is I was called, she was pronounced (dead),” he said. “She had passed away for a few minutes, I guess. But when I came into the room, she was there, breathing.”

Dr. Mark Ewens, who practices family medicine in Yolo County, Calif., said Sunday that he has heard of a handful of incidents where people wake up in morgues.

“Usually, it’s because of (human) error,” he said. “No, you don’t just die and wake up. That really doesn’t happen.”

Whether there is a simple medical explanation behind Williams’ unexpected return from the other side on Easter weekend, the family strongly believes there are other forces at work.

“We’re a Catholic family,” said Michelle Roach, Williams’ niece who, with her husband, Rick, was en route from Vacaville, Calif. Saturday to visit the rest of the grieving relatives when they got the second call. “All I could think was I couldn’t believe this was happening on Easter.”

“We’re all here for a reason,” Clark said. “We’re all here for a purpose. Maybe my mother’s here a little bit longer to say good-bye. Maybe it just wasn’t her time. I asked her if she saw dad, she seemed to think so – I asked her what she saw and she said, ‘you’re not to know’.”

Monday, Mar. 24, 2008

Miracle baby heads home

If he were born to another generation, Remy Syminton wouldn’t have survived.

He was delivered on December 28, 2007, just 25 weeks into mum Geraldine Smith’s pregnancy

Without the high tech help he got first at Auckland hospital, then at North Shore’s special care baby unit, he would have died.

“He’s a real miracle,” says Mrs Smith.

“It’s very fortunate he is so well taken care of. He loves the nurses. It’s obvious.”

Although he is three months old, Remy is still short of his birth due date of April 5.

He spent time in an incubator to keep him alive, before being moved to North Shore Hospital at seven weeks old.

There he was placed on a heat table, as he was still not ready to be moved into a normal cot.

A machine called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, kept him breathing by putting pressure on his lungs for 10 weeks.

He is still on oxygen, though he has improved to the point he is about to go home.

“We’re enjoying every minute we can have with him,” says Mrs Smith.

Special care baby unit nurse Deb Mulhol-
land says it’s amazing to see the progress Remy has made.

He is just one of hundreds of success stories coming out of the unit, she says.

It cares for 340 to 390 North Shore babies every year, and last year ran at an average of more than 90 percent occupancy.

Despite that, it faces a tough battle buying new equipment amid intense competition for government health funding.

Ms Mulholland is hoping to raise money for a new heated cot and other equipment by hosting a fashion show on April 5.

Playground for miracle Craigieburn man

AFTER four years in darkness, afraid to venture outside, life for Craigieburn teenager Sammy-Joe Liistro is about to change.

The 19-year-old, who suffers from a rare, life-threatening genetic disorder called trichothiodystrophy, will be able to play outside for the first time in four years.

His condition means he is sensitive to light; ultra-violet rays attack his DNA.

Sammy-Joe’s mum Maria Liistro has received news that developer Delfin plans to build a UV-free playground for him in their back yard.

“It’s going to be another world for him,” Mrs Liistro said.

“The last four years he has been practically living in two rooms, only venturing out for 15 to 20 minutes at night.”

The life-changing equipment, worth more than $150,000, will be a pergola-like structure, with rubber floor and shutters that can be opened at night.There are also plans for a therapeutic spa.

“It means people can come and visit, and other children who are in Sammy-Joe’s boat can come and interact with him,” she said.

“Sammy-Joe hasn’t had much social interaction for the last four years. This is going to change everything.”

Mrs Liistro, who also runs a support group for parents and families with children who suffer from similar conditions to Sammy-Joe, said the structure would mean meetings could be held at their house.

Two years ago Sammy-Joe had a stroke, leaving him without the ability to chew or swallow. Mrs Liistro said that, because he had lived under the “rules of the condition, he had regained his ability to eat independently”.

“The doctors in America call him the ‘miracle boy’. They keep sending me little FedEx boxes to collect his DNA,” she said.

“The playground will mean Sammy-Joe can continue to live under the rules.”

Delfin Craigieburn project manager Tom Trevaskis said Delfin was proud to be involved in such a life-changing project.

“It would not have been possible without the time and effort provided by our construction partner Naturform, and we can’t wait to see Sammy-Joe enjoying playtime in a place he can call his own,” he said.

“To date, we have received support and funding from companies including Boral, Winslow Constructors and Clayton Utz, which really proves the impact this young boy has had on the community.”

Life, light, love among miracles

Who knew?

Many in the festive crowd at Sunday’s Easter sunrise service at Red Rocks Ampitheatre were harboring something special beneath their warm woolies – miracles to tell.

For years, the much-loved Colorado ritual has drawn nearly 10,000 people on Easter Sunday – weather permitting – to mark what Christians believe is among the greatest of miracles, Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

This year, the earliest Easter in nearly a century, we asked people to talk about miracles in their own lives. (Maybe their stories will resonate for future generations, who won’t see another Easter sunrise this early in the year until 2160.)

Their remarks have been edited for space and clarity.

‘That day he had angels all around him’

Jean Bush, 60, Federal Heights

I sure do have a miracle. I have a great-grandbaby, Emilio, who was 5 months old when the miracle happened.

Last October he opened a furnace grate, 6 feet deep, and fell into it. I was on my way to work when my granddaughter called to say – “Hey, we made the news.”

“Did we win the lottery?” I said. Not exactly.

Thank God the furnace wasn’t lit – even though it was October.

Then Emilio’s godfather, Hal Temple, went down to get him out, and he got stuck up to his waist. The man is 78 years old. It took five paramedics to get him out. I think that’s a miracle, too.

Anyway, firemen came and cut the baby out of the box. The little guy just had a scratch on his head. He was so adorable – he had this cinder-black face.

That day he had angels all around him. Big, big angels.

I’m telling you, miracles do happen in everyday life.

‘Having our family, that’s a gift’

Campbell Kruse, 15; his brother Spencer, 6; and his mom, Cherisse Larsson, Brighton

Campbell: I’m adopted. I think it was a miracle that God was able to bring a family my way, to find someone who will take care of me.

I was pretty young, about 4, and living in Iowa in foster care.

Cherisse: My husband, Mats, and I were able to adopt Campbell and his brother and sister. They were going to be split up. Another miracle in our lives – doctors said I couldn’t get pregnant. We tried and tried and tried. One day, after adopting these three kids, I found out I was pregnant, with Spencer.

Having our family, that’s a gift. A miracle.

‘Then all of a sudden he went into remission.’

David Hawkins, Westminster

My father-in-law had lymphoma for 10 years. He was on disability for the longest time. Then all of a sudden it went into remission. That was seven or eight years ago.

Our family sees that as a miracle. Definitely.

Chemo, radiation, going to church, praying – and never losing faith. That’s the combination. That’s what made our miracle.

‘They are each a gift from God.’

Anne Lundstrom, 41, Thornton

The gift of life is a miracle. I have four of them.

This is Amy Mae, 3.

My other kids are Catherine, 12, John, 9, and Claire, 6. Every time I have a child it truly is an absolute miracle. I’m so aware of that as I’m delivering, that they are each a gift from God.

My husband, Tom, and I met in college – he’s from here, I’m from Minneapolis. He came to Minnesota to go to school. If he hadn’t done that, I don’t know how we would have met. So that’s providential, too.

‘Last year was a mess. But God is awesome.’

Tara Miller, 23, and her mom, Ginger McLaughlin, 41

Our miracle is the fact that last year we were in the depths of despair. My dad is an alcoholic. He’s in recovery now. That has brought us all out of the darkness and into the light.

Ginger: Last year was a mess. But God is awesome.

Tara: His unfailing love shows how he always cares for us. At Easter dinner today, we can look toward the future with hope.

‘Here I am. I’m alive.’

Michael Mincinski, 44, Fort Collins

That I’m alive – that’s pretty much a miracle, I’d say.

It happened 13 years ago. I was living in L.A., and one day my girlfriend at the time and I went for a drive in the Angeles Crest National Forest.

I lost control of the car and went over a cliff, 350 feet down, the length of a football field.

We were tumbling and rolling – I remember going through the treetops. I was gripping the steering wheel with one hand and holding my girlfriend with the other and saying over and over again, ‘Oh my God, Oh my God!’

I might have said it five times or 100 times, I don’t know. Everything was in slow motion. Later they told me the car flipped 26 times.

Finally we slowed down and that’s when I saw another cliff was ahead. I prayed – “Oh please, God, let this be the last time we roll.”

They said if we had rolled three more times we would have gone over another cliff – straight down.

And you know what? Neither one of us broke a bone. It was like angels were around me the whole way.

I haven’t thought about this in a long time. But yeah, I guess that’s pretty much a miracle, isn’t it? Here I am. I’m alive.

‘They said we lost him three times.’

Tamera Berckhan, 50, and A.C. Wells, 52, St. Paul, Minn., on an emergency visit to Colorado to be with their sick son

Tamera: I guess we can say we have a miracle in the works. Two weeks ago, our 30-year-old son, Adrian, who lives here, came down with pneumococcal pneumonia. He thought it was the flu. It took him out in 12 hours. Now they’ve got him in an induced coma. He’s completely paralyzed.

They said we lost him three times; three times they revived him.

A.C.: That was a miracle. He came close to death a couple of times.

Tamera: Now the doctors say they are running out of options. His vital signs have leveled out, but they say he won’t come out of this without some permanent “war wounds.”

But this just makes us more faithful. We’ve already seen a miracle – we got him back 30 percent, with a chance to live. We just want him to live.

A.C: When you’re in a situation like this, always request prayer. It keeps you going forward.

Tamera: It gets you through the hard times.

Inside Good News Blog