A teenager has shocked doctors by recovering from what they thought was certain death. The whole episode has one physician calling what happened to 14-year-old John Smith a “bonafide miracle” and another crediting the Holy Spirit.
Smith was reportedly pronounced dead for 45 minutes after falling through the ice and spending 15 minutes submerged in frigid water. Smith and two friends fell through the ice, but it’s Smith’s survival that has everyone wondering what happened. Doctors spent 27 minutes administering CPR on Smith before giving up and declaring him dead.
“In my mind this is a very grim, very poor chance of survival already,” said Dr. Kent Sutterer said of the circumstance. “The question was raised: how long should they continue [CPR]. He was dead for 45 minutes.”
Smith is just as shocked as anyone.
“After listening to what the paramedics and doctors said I’m pretty surprised at the outcome,” he told KDSK. ”I’m surprised I’m alive but it’s a real miracle that I’m alive, and I thank God I’m alive, and there’s a reason I’m alive, so I’m just going to kind of follow what God has in store for me throughout my life.”
“I don’t remember much about it to be honest, but I do remember the tubes,” says Smith.
He is walking and talking, here with his pastor Jason Noble by his side. And trying to make sense of how he’s not just alive, but thriving after being under water for 15 minutes.
“After listening to what the paramedics and doctors said I’m pretty surprised at the outcome,” says John.
An outcome some say fits in with all of the other miracles that day and in the days that followed.
Like the fact Lake St. Louis Fire and Emergency crews had just practiced ice rescues the week before they pulled John out.
And the doctor who was on duty in the emergency room at SSM St. Joseph Hospital West the day of the accident: Dr. Kent Sutterer, whose daughter’s in the same class with John at Living Word Christian School.
What happened next defies explanation. Dr. Sutterer called John’s mother into the room to give her the news.
“She started praying loudly,” says Dr. Sutterer.
“I don’t remember what all I said,” recalls John’s mother, Joyce Smith. “But I remember, ‘Holy God, please send your Holy Spirit to save my son. I want my son, please save him.’ And they hadn’t been getting a pulse at that time, so all of a sudden I heard them saying, ‘We got a pulse, we got a pulse.'”
“Within a matter of a minute or two, his heart started again,” says Dr. Sutterer.