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9-year-old's Heart Stops Beating for 20 minutes

Mason & Lansing, MI

Rural mason, Michigan. A mini-van was passing a slow-moving combine, when a small figure appeared from nowhere.

Jennifer Scott remembers, “We both heard the tires screeching.”

Her husband, Richard, adds, “Then I turned and looked, and Brenden was laying in the road. First thought was fear.”

Richard and Jennifer’s 9-year-old son Brendan was running across the street to the neighbor’s when the mini-van hit him at 45 mph, knocking him 75 feet down the road.  

Jennifer says, “His body looked pretty twisted.” 

They arrived to find his eyes open, but unresponsive and blood coming from his ear.

She continues, “I immediately thought he was already gone.”

Richard remembers, “I just kept reminding Brenden that God has him; Mom and Dad are right here. And to keep fighting.”  

Jennifer says she prayed, “‘God, please don’t take my baby.’ That’s-those were the only words.”

After calling 911, Jennifer texted her church’s prayer chain with a simple message: “‘Prayers. Brenden.’  And as soon as I hit send, the comments started coming, like ‘Praying!  Praying!’ And a calm really did come over me because I knew, God was working.”

Brenden was taken to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan with both legs and his jaw broken. He also suffered a punctured lung, a ruptured spleen, and a brain hemorrhage. Even then, the most life-threatening concern was the extensive bleeding from his liver.  

Dr. Stephen Guertin was one of several doctors on Brendan’s case. Dr. Guertin explains, “He was in desperate condition, and the essential thing was get to the operating room, get into his abdomen, and try to get the bleeding stopped.”

With her son in surgery, Jennifer reflected on how, after many years of praying to have children, she and Richard welcomed Brenden into the world. Now with two more boys and two adopted girls, they once again leaned on their faith in God, as their firstborn fought for his life.

Richard shares, “I was definitely scared. I had to rely on Him for the strength.”  

Jennifer adds, “I knew that Brenden was my miracle child when I conceived him, and he still has miracles in him.”

In the O.R., the team was still trying to stop the bleeding, when Brendan’s heart stopped. 

Dr. Guertin explains, “He actually bled to death in the operating room. There was no more blood in his heart. And so what they did was the surgeon literally took the heart in his hands and as the heart started to fill, he started squeezing it.”  

By now, more people had joined the family in prayer, as the team continued massaging Brendan’s heart. But doctors knew that any attempts after twenty minutes would likely be futile.

Dr. Guertin says, “When they got to the twenty-minute mark or so, people started to question, ‘Can we really go further? Will it help him to go further?’ And literally right at that moment, um, his heart started again, by itself, spontaneously.”  

It was a win, but his liver was still bleeding. And Dr. Guertin gave the parents little hope.  

Dr. Guertin shares, “I-I just didn’t know if he could make it. And his mother just looked at me with this just certainty that I was sort of surprised by. And she said, ‘No, you’re wrong. He’s going to live.’”

Jennifer says, “I couldn’t let myself believe that anything but a miracle was about to happen.”

And the Scotts say, it did, as doctors were able to stop the bleeding. Now in the pediatric ICU, Brenden faced another fight. With extensive head injuries, doctors feared he would have permanent brain damage.  
Richard says, “They said he might not make it through the next couple of days.”

Jennifer remembers, “To see him laying there, fighting for his life…was just really hard.”

Meanwhile, prayers continued to pour in from everywhere. Richard says, “If it wasn't for the support, I don't know how we would have made it through the first night.”

The 9-year-old made it through the night, and over the next few critical days, they watched for positive neurological signs. Then on day five, Brenden woke up, not only able to respond to verbal commands but a special touch from Mom.

Jennifer explains, “He’s never liked to hold my hand [cupped], it’s always [with fingers interlocked]. And so whenever I would grab his hand and hold onto it he would slowly-it started with his pinkie. And then eventually he would lace his fingers through mine. I just knew that he was telling me, ‘Mom, I’m here.’”

Dr. Guertin says, “I just couldn’t believe it. The fact that he was alive, but also the fact that he clearly was with it. It was amazing.”

Brenden underwent a total of eight surgeries during his four-week stay at the hospital, before going to rehab. But it only took three weeks – not several months as doctors predicted – for him to go home.  

Richard remembers, “They're like, ‘We can't explain this. The body shouldn't be able to heal that fast.’ You don't have to explain it to me. I know where it's coming from.”

Within a few months, he was back to running around and even ride his bike.  

Jennifer says, “I knew in my heart that God wouldn’t take my child. But even I didn’t imagine that He would restore him fully.”  

 Dr. Guertin says, “He represents one of the best examples I can think of in a lifetime of doing this.”

Other than the scars and brief moments of memory loss, Brenden shows no signs of long-term effects from his injuries. He and his family know he’s a walking miracle and a testament to the power of prayer.

Richard shares, “The Bible says, you know, ‘Where two or more come to Me in my name, the prayers will be answered.’ And we had countless numbers of prayers coming in.”

Brenden adds, confidently, “God actually does miracles.”  

Jennifer says, “This just proved God’s willing to answer if you’re willing to ask.”

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