Man who awakened from coma after two years offers hope to Jahi McMath’s family

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By Mark Ellis

Jahi McMath
Jahi McMath

The young girl declared brain dead following complications of tonsil surgery was moved from Children’s Hospital in Oakland to an undisclosed location after her family fought for her life. No one knows what will happen to 13-year-old Jahi, but one man offers hope to her family.

“They said I was a vegetable and 80 percent of my brain was dead,” says Randall Hall, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2000 and lapsed into a persistent vegetative state for two years.

Over time, his body atrophied and curled into a fetal position. Hooked up to breathing and feeding machines, with no response to sounds or movement, doctors recommended they remove life support.

Randall Hall in coma
Randall Hall in coma

While Hall’s father sided with the doctors, his mother and older brother refused to remove his breathing and feeding tubes. They thought they saw occasional flashes of recognition in Randall’s eyes that offered hope.

In January 2002, doctors replaced a portion of Randall’s skull to relieve pressure on his brain. A month after the surgery, Hall began to awaken from the coma over a two-week period.

But Hall doesn’t credit the surgeons or other therapies for his survival. He credits the Great Physician – who still has the power to heal.

“I was going to hell if I died, but God saved my life,” Hall declares. “No human saved my life,” he says. “God allowed me to die for two years so He could save my life. Doctors can only do so much – they’re not gods.”

Coming out of the coma did not mean a quick return to normality. “When I woke up I was like a newborn, mentally,” he notes. “My brain was washed clean. I cried for the first year.” The second year, his mental and emotional maturity resembled a five or six-year-old. By the third year, he was like an adolescent. Over time, his memory returned and he believes it is fully restored today.

The neurologist cautioned the family that even if he came out of the coma, it was unlikely he would walk or talk again. He is doing both today — and driving on his own car — something no one thought possible.

“My surgeons don’t understand. Usually there is no recovery from a coma,” he notes. “They don’t know what God can do.”

Children’s Hospital released Jahi McMath on Sunday to the Alameda County coroner, who then discharged her to her mother’s custody, according to Dr. David Durand, the hospital’s chief of pediatrics.

Like the Terri Schiavo case, Jahi’s condition drew national attention and sparked debate as an intense court battle ensued between devastated family members trying to keep her on a ventilator and doctors who were convinced she was already dead.

“No amount of prayer, no amount of hope, no amount of any type of medical procedure will bring her back,” said Sam Singer, a spokesperson for Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Paul Fisher, chief of pediatric neurology at Stanford Children’s Hospital, evaluated Jahi and found her pupils were completely dilated and unresponsive to light and she did not respond to a range of powerful stimuli. His report also says Jahi showed no sign of breathing on her own after a ventilator was removed. The report stated her heart was beating solely due to the mechanical ventilator.

An imaging test showed no blood flow to the young girl’s brain, while another showed no sign of electrical activity. “Overall, unfortunate circumstances in 13-year-old with known, irreversible brain injury and now complete absence of cerebral function and complete absence of brainstem function, child meets all criteria for brain death, by professional societies and state of California,” Fisher concluded.

Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, is a strong Christian, and says she sees reason for hope.

Randall Hall today
Randall Hall today

She is hoping and praying for a miracle – along with many others in the Christian community.

Amazingly, Randall Hall is thankful for the health crisis he endured — even for his coma. “Before the coma I denied Jesus.  I heard His voice in the coma. He taught me the real meaning of love. Now I’m His.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. I know nothing is impossible with God. I am standing by faith for my Mom who has been diagnosed with pleural effusion and osteomolitis . Surgery not recommended because of the plural infusion ,which may be caused by pneumonia . But Jesus paid for her healing ,it says in His word by His stripes we were healed. Other complications have improved surprisingly and I know these will also . Doctors are not God. They don’t see the possibilities ,but with God all things are possible . Then when healing takes place their only comment is, “They don’t know what happened”. As one doctor said to me He stopped saying it is impossible to his patients . Now he says it is possible even though it looks impossible!

  2. God is our healer! My husband got ill 8 years ago. He couldn’t walk, talk at the time. Went into coma 3 times and doctors said he will not come out. Lots of people prayed and after 5 months he started getting up on his feet! Doctors said he will be in a wheelchair and will not have children. But is walking, talking and we had 2 more kids since! Praise be to the Lord!!!

  3. My husband also was in a coma for 18 days. He woke up. It was a mriacle. Our prayers and Strong Faith in the God who created us made this come about. My husband had a brain hemmorhage from a CVA. Truly a mircale. My deepest thands to God, the Holy Trinity and my beloved Saint Padre Pio and St. Faustina who interceded for me to have this come about.
    Just a bref history: My husabnd suffers with Hypertension. On November 27, 2003, my husband stated he had pains in the head. Terrible pains. He assumed it was a headache. I thought so too….howver, he never came down to eat a meal, slept all day and I did check on him several times to see how he was doing. But he was sleeping. in the evening, I went to wake him up, and when he awaken, he couldn’t say my name nor speak clearly. No words came from his lips. I quickly called my son and he brought home the EMT and my husband was rushed to the hospital where he slip into a coma. Bad news; the doctor who had taken care of him told us a bleeding in the brain. It was a devastating period in my life. I gave one big scream……and cried my heart out. I am very deveoted and I knew God will intervene, and surely enough, after my husband was air flilghted by helicopter to another hospital, being in a coma for 18 days, came through and waken up. It was a long haul home, but thanks to my oldest dauaghter whom helped her dad to health and talking again, he is still here with us. Thank you Jesus, and my dear saints and all the doctors and nurses who had taken care of him during his stay at Geisinger Hospital in Danville PA. My husband just celebrated his 70th birthday. Yes, God does hear our prayers and our needs. Keep the faith and belive and trust in Him as He will do wonders for you.

  4. great healing im so happy for you. my husband was only given2 weeks, and hospital took him off the life support with another family members approval. now I am the one crushed, I feel he could have made a good recovery also. he was my love, complete soalmate.

    • Hi Teresa:
      I am so sorry for your loss. I only wish I had known you then, i would of said no to what the hospital had done. They were wrong. You should have put up a fight. Because I would have. Well, my dear, he is in Gods hands, and know that he is in your heart also. Pray for him, and someday you two will be together again. God bless you.

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