Doctor Commands Family to Pray In the Face of Fatal Prognosis
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Friday – December 8th, 2017. Twenty-three-year-old Evan was preparing for an event when he told a co-worker he didn’t feel well. Seconds later, he passed out, and his co-worker began CPR; his family got the call.
“We were just thinking something silly happened,” said Carlie, Evan’s younger sister, “like he had low blood sugar or he fell, something that really could be easily fixed.”
The reality was much worse. While Evan – a CrossFit coach – had no history of heart problems, he had gone into sudden cardiac arrest. Ninety-five percent of the time that happens outside the hospital – the patient doesn’t survive.
Evan’s mother, Melanie, remembered, “the doctor said, ‘your son’s very sick and I don’t think we can save him. I’m working on him, I’m doing all I can, but it looks bad.’”
As the emergency teams tried to stabilize Evan’s heart, he coded, three times.
Dr. Raquel Bennet Gittens, Evan’s Cardiologist, recalled, “unfortunately, that heart was squeezing at 10%. That really showed us how sick his heart was and at that point, we weren’t very sure if it was going to recover or if it was going to stay in congestive heart failure.”
“I remember my sister walking and she was crying and she was like, ‘Carlie, don’t go back there.’ And I was like, ‘if this is the last time I see my brother, I’m going to go back there.’ And during that time, he coded again,” Carlie remembered. “I think that was the moment where the fear really hit that this might be the last time I see my brother.”
As the hours went on, the doctors gave Evan’s family the grim truth.
Evan’s older sister, Hailey, remembers the doctors saying, "'Evan could die in the next five minutes. He could live overnight but then die the next morning. Or, he can make a full recovery.’ And he said, ‘I’m really betting on option three – but it’s not likely.’”
The doctor gave the family a job of their own to do: pray. They called everyone they could, and within minutes, their friends showed up.
“The whole lobby was full of people,” remembered Evan’s mom. “I would say at least 45, 50 people.”
“It was amazing,” said Hailey. “We basically took over the emergency room.”
Evan made it through the night, but he was hardly out of the woods – his organs were shutting down.
“I remember going to the bathroom and just getting on my knees and crying and praying,” Hailey said through tears. “I remember saying ‘God, if you need to take Evan, you know, you’re still good, but please save him.’”
Dr. Gittens also prayed with the family and decided Evan’s best shot at survival was a transfer to St. Joseph’s hospital – a journey that was risky in itself
Dr. Gittens: “He again went into cardiac arrest on the stretcher, but luckily the nurse had the defibrillator in her hand. The machine could not fit on the helicopter, and so we had a mini-crisis at that time. So, what we did was pack him down with maybe twenty bags of ice to keep his body at core temperature.”
In the meantime, Evan started showing signs of improvement. His organs started to work again.
“We just put it out on Facebook,” Hailey recalled. “‘Hey, this is what the report we got this morning at 8:30, please pray that his organs, will get better.’ And by that night, they were! Everybody in the room was like dumbfounded because he went from like a 0% chance to, ok his organs are completely fine.”
Even more surprising, his heart went from ten percent functionality to thirty, but no one knew what his brain activity would be. By day three, Evan started to wake up.
“He opened his eyes and he was rolling his head and I said, ‘it’s Mom. It’s mom. We’re here, you’re going to be okay.’ I said, ‘everybody’s been coming to visit, your CrossFit team was here,’ and the minute I said ‘CrossFit,’ his head raised like this and he’s looking around, he’s looking for his CrossFit buddies, and there’s tears just rolling down my eyes and I said, ‘he’s got brain activity! He knows what I’m talking about!”
Amazingly – Evan continued to improve.
“Within five days they came in and said his heart was back to almost perfectly normal where it looked like it’d never happened, and they couldn’t understand it,” said Evan’s Mother.
“I just always believed we can’t underestimate the importance and the value of faith and prayer and a supportive family at the bedside,” said Dr. Gittens. “Nothing can replace that.
Two weeks after being admitted to the hospital, Evan Hinson came home, just in time for Christmas.
“That was the main goal,” said Evan. “I just wanted to wake up on Christmas day and be able to go into the living room and spend time with my family.”
“I know that was the best Christmas we ever had when Evan came home,” remembered Hailey. “It was the first Christmas that we didn’t have a fight, we didn’t have drama, it was – we just enjoyed being together, and we enjoyed life and thanked God for what we had at that moment.
Today, Evan is working and going to college - and showing no signs of heart issues.
Evan’s Mom, through tears, said, “I still look at Evan and God is amazing and he’s so great and I’m so blessed that he’s here today, I’m so blessed.”
“Evan’s Mother sent me a text last December,” said Dr. Gittens. She said, ‘I got back the best Christmas gift I could ever ask for. I got back my son.’”
Evan now has a scar and, as a precaution, wears a pacemaker – but the biggest reminder of his Christmas miracle happens when people Evan has never met tell him they were praying for his recovery.
“It ended up giving me a lot of confidence in the Lord and in my faith and to be able to really truly understand that he does do miracles,” said Evan.
“It’s just allowed me to really see that he does have a plan for my life and that he controls a lot more than I think he does!”
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