Thinking He Was Brain Dead Family Was Set to Give Away His Organs, Then He Held Up Two Fingers

State   Steven Ertelt   May 16, 2014   |   4:34PM    Phoenix, AZ

LifeNews has repeatedly profiled cases where doctors may too quickly began cutting up patients who are not really dead to begin harvesting their organs for donations.

These kinds of cases have happened before, as supposedly “brain dead” patients have come back to life just before having their vital organs taken from them after prematurely being declared dead. Although there is nothing morally wrong with organ donations — in fact, it’s arguably a very pro-life action to take — these kinds of stories ought to remind organ donors (and any patient and their family) that doctors are too quickly declaring patients dead or too far gone to treat.

samschmidSam Schmid, an Arizona college student who was thought to be brain dead, recovered from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in October just hours before he was slated to be killed and his organs given to other patients.

The accident took the life of his best friend and college roomate and Schmid’s injuries were thought to be so grievous that a local hospital could not treat him and he was sent to Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Phoenix to receive surgery for a life-threatening aneurysm.

As hospital officials began palliative care and talked with his parents about organ donation, Schmid began to hold up two fingers on command and started walking with the aid of a walker.

ABC News has more:

Two years ago, Sam Schmid’s close encounter with death was called a “Christmas miracle.” As he lay in a coma after sustaining massive brain injuries in a car crash, doctors were discussing organ donation with his parents and ready to take him off life support.

Schmid astounded those at his hospital bedside who thought he was brain dead, raising two fingers to signal he still had life left in him. But at the time, no one knew if the Tucson, Ariz., college student would ever return to his studies — or even walk or talk again.

Today at 23, he is a force on the basketball court, enrolled in college classes and is hoping to be a veterinary technician. Schmid credits his surgeon and the Center for Transitional Neuro Rehabilitation at Barrow Neurological Institute, where he was recently discharged.

Schmid was a junior and business major at the University of Arizona when he was critically wounded in an Oct. 19, 2011 five-car accident in Tucson.

He was returning from coaching basketball at his former Catholic school when a van swerved into his lane. The Jeep in which he was riding went airborne, hit a light pole and landed on its side. Schmid’s left hand and both of his femurs broke and required surgery. But he had suffered massive head injuries that are nearly always fatal.

The 21-year-old’s brain injuries were so severe that the local hospital could not treat him. He was airlifted to Barrow at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Phoenix, where specialists performed surgery for a life-threatening aneurysm.

As hospital officials began palliative care and broached the subject of organ donation with his family, Schmid began to respond, holding up two fingers on command.