Pastor pronounced brain dead by doctors shows signs of life minutes before organs harvested
The wife of a North Carolina pastor who was pronounced brain dead by doctors says he miraculously began showing signs of neurological activity minutes before his organs were to be harvested for donation.
Ryan Marlow, 37, had spent two weeks in Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center suffering from listeria when doctors declared him “clinically deceased” on 27 August, wife Megan Marlow said in a livestream on Facebook.
The father of three’s condition had taken a turn for the worse after suffering swelling on the brain, and had suffered “neurological death”, doctors told her.
She was told that Mr Marlow, an organ donor, would be kept on life support while lung, heart and liver recipients could be located.
As family gathered to farewell Mr Marlow on 30 August, his wife said she almost couldn’t bring herself to come to the hospital in Winston-Salem.
“My heart could not bare it,” she said in Facebook.
Upon arrival, she was told by a niece that he had moved his feet while he was shown videos of his children.
She says a doctor then informed her that a CT scan had shown signs of brain activity.
“Because of his rare circumstance, they called in an expert panel and discovered that they made a mistake and that my husband, in fact, did not pass away,” she said during a Facebook live stream.
“Literally the (organ removal) team was waiting there to take him... and I tell the nurse ‘stop everything right now’,” she said.
Ms Marlow was told that he had still suffered a traumatic brain stem injury, and that he was in a critical condition in a deep coma.
“Long story short... he’s not brain dead, my friends. He’s not brain dead.”
“God’s kept him here. He’s supposed to be dead, he’s supposed to be at the funeral home right now according to these doctors.”
Since the CT scan, Mr Marlow has shown signs of an elevated heart rate and twitching, but his condition remains precarious, she said.
Ms Marlow said that Duke University Hospital had agreed to take her husband, and she was talking to the medical director about transferring her husband there.
But in an update on Thursday on Facebook, Ms Marlow said the decision to move him had been delayed.
The Facebook livestream updates have attracted thousands of comments of support and prayer.
Mr Marlow runs his own business as a piano technician and has been a pastor at Grace Baptist Church in North Wilkesboro since 2015.
Listeria is usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC estimates that about 1,600 people in the US contract listeria each year, and about 260 die.