medical error miracle pulse found hours after boy declared dead

Most parents in Pittsburgh can’t imagine anything more horrible than losing a child. So when doctors told two parents that their 7-year-old son Jaylen died, the parents had a hard time accepting the news.

When Jaylen was two, he had a stroke. Since then, he has relied on a ventilator to breath. About two weeks ago, Jaylen’s mother heard the ventilator beeping, and she called 911. By the time Jaylen arrived at the hospital, he had been in cardiac arrest for more than 25 minutes. The doctors told his parents that there was little they would be able to do for Jaylen, and they recommended that the parents say their goodbyes.

Less than 30 minutes after Jaylen arrived at the hospital, he was declared dead. His parents insisted that the doctors made a mistake. The funeral home had arrived to take the boy’s body, but four hours after Jaylen was declared dead, a doctor and nurse found a pulse and used an ultrasound machine to see his heartbeat.

At some point, Jaylen’s dad started recording things with his iPhone. From across the room, you can see the boy’s heartbeat on the ultrasound machine. Later, a hospital worked is recorded saying, “Miracles happen. I’m thrilled. I’m sorry you had to go through this today.”

Jaylen’s parents don’t believe a miracle brought their son back.

After doctors declared Jaylen dead, his chest kept moving, and his body was never still. Jaylen’s parents insisted that a medical team continue operating on their son, but the request was resisted. A doctor told them that it’s common “for a form of breathing to continue after death when medication is given in efforts to revive someone.”

The hospital insists that the boy died and that his heart started spontaneously. The parents aren’t convinced their boy was ever dead, and they are thinking about filing a lawsuit. If a medical team had continued operating on the boy, could they have made a difference? Even if the end result was the same, parents should never be caught in a tug-of-war grieving the loss of a child and wondering whether he is really dead.

Source: abc 7 NEWS, “Heartbeat, pulse found after boy pronounced dead,” Sara Schulte, Feb. 23, 2012

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