Trusting God for Medical Miracle
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“I could listen to the doctors and nurses talking to me, but it kind of sounded like a tunnel sound. My whole world was just turned upside down. I was numb.”
There was nothing Beth could do but watch as her husband, David Robles, was rushed into emergency surgery. “I knew that perhaps that was going to be the last time that I saw my husband alive.”
Beth had driven the retired marine to Naval Medical center in San Diego. Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Luke Oakley explained: “Mr. Robles had what is the most severe type of heart attack. His prognosis hung in the balance of how quickly we could get in and open what we knew was a blocked artery.”
Doctor Oakley and his team successfully placed a stent in the blocked artery, but David continued to decline. They discovered that David’s mitral valve, one of the main valves in his heart, had ruptured, and was leaking fluid into his lungs. It called for drastic measures. “We elected to put him on the most aggressive form of life support,” recalled Dr. Oakley. “We call it ECMO, but it’s basically a heart/lung bypass machine, that can pump blood for the heart and oxygenate blood for the lungs.”
David needed open heart surgery to replace the valve. Beth remembered hearing the news: “Three doctors came to me, and one of ‘em, he broke down and he couldn’t really speak. They said, ‘Your husband is really sick. Your husband is in really critical care.’ I interpreted that as, 'Your husband might die and there’s a high chance that he’s not gonna make it.’”
The next day, David was transferred to the Cardiac Trauma Center at nearby Sharp Memorial Hospital. David needed open heart surgery to replace the valve, however, now, his kidneys were beginning to shut down, so his medical team decided the surgery was too risky. Acute Care Nurse, Mary Scarlett explained: “When people get into situations where many organs are a problem, the risk of their outcome or the outcome can be really compromised. We were very concerned that he would not survive.”
Beth clung to her faith and reached out to their friends and family to pray. “Prayer was everything. What the doctor was telling me was that there was nothing else that they can do. I just had to keep telling myself, trust. Trust in Him. Trust in the Lord.”
As they prayed, David’s kidneys began to improve, and doctors were able to perform a mitral valve clip procedure that slowed the fluid going into his lungs. “He was not going to improve clinically unless we did something to fix the valve. He was in something that we call cardiogenic shock.”
Then, days later, David had a stroke. Doctors had to remove part of his skull to relieve the swelling on his brain. They weren’t sure if David would recover and if he did, to what extent. “That was another big blow, another devastating, bad news,” Beth recalled. “It felt like a roller coaster, like we were on a roller coaster.”
With David still on ECMO and in a medically induced coma, the weeks passed slowly for Beth. “You start to think about, 'Is he going to be a vegetable? Is he, if he does wake up, is he gonna be able to talk?’ The only way that I knew was to lean on God and rely on Him. That's really all I could do is just pray."
Beth said there was something else keeping hope alive - a sign from God. She was praying one morning when she noticed a dove on their backyard fence.“I really felt that God was telling me, speaking to me that, you know, ‘Don't worry. Trust in Me.’ I felt a lot of peace."
Slowly, David improved, and he could be taken off ECMO and brought out of the coma. However, he couldn’t speak and the right side of his body was paralyzed. Doctors weren’t sure if he would walk or even feed himself again. Then, as his loved ones continued to pray, David began to show signs of improvement. “I would write down my prayers, specific prayers that I was asking God,” remembered Beth. “I would ask Him to show me what my eyes did not see. I was praying that I wanted to hear his (David's) voice.”
The very next day…“I kind of looked up, it's like, ‘Oh, what's going here?’” David recalled.
“When I heard his voice, it brought me back to the prayer that I had asked the night before,” said Beth. “I know that prayer was answered. It was beautiful to witness.”
By the end of June, David had surpassed doctors’ expectations and was able to have the open-heart surgery he needed. Although they also had to replace another one of his heart valves, David came through the seven-hour surgery with flying colors!
“It was God,” Beth declared. “He was my source of strength. He did it for us. He did it for me. He showed me what a mighty powerful God we serve and how He can sustain us through anything in life.”
On July 13th, three and a half months after arriving in the ER, David was released from rehab and sent home. David’s family aren’t the only ones who marvel at his recovery. “Ultimately, his recovery has been miraculous,” says Dr. Oakley. “It’s been a really, truly miraculous recovery, unlike anything I’ve seen in my career.”
“Mr. Robles is a case that is remarkable to me and my team,” said Acute Care Nurse, Mary Scarlett. “His recovery is out of the norm with all the obstacles that he went through. To be where he is today is simply remarkable. His recovery outcome is one of the highlights of my career.”
As for David, he’s changed a few things, exercising and taking a new perspective on life, his faith in God, and prayer. “It woke me up, believe me! I mean, just to appreciate life,” said David. “I've always believed in God, but my faith wasn't always as strong. It's a lot stronger now. I do believe the power that He has to heal people because I mean, He healed me, you know?”
“Prayer to me, it means everything. It's powerful,” stated Beth. “To see what God has done in him, it's indescribable. If you simply believe in Him, He can do the impossible.”
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