Richard Scott watched as his little boy’s breathing slowed.
Brenden Scott, then 9, lay on his belly in the middle of a Michigan road, legs splayed at unnatural angles. His eyes were open but he was unconscious, not seeing anything.
A mini-van moving at more than 40 miles per hour had hit the 9-year-old, 60-pound boy as he crossed the road, jolting him into the air, breaking bones and lacerating organs.
Seconds and minutes ticked by. Two ambulances and police cars were on their way. Richard felt helpless.
“Come on buddy, just keep fighting.”
“Come on buddy, just keep fighting,” Richard told Brenden.
Then he turned to God.
“Help the medical staff help him,” Richard prayed. “Give them strength.”
Within an hour Brenden was in a Sparrow Hospital operating room, surrounded by three medical teams. His belly had filled with blood, and, when they opened his chest, his heart stopped.
In the waiting room, Jennifer Scott, Brenden’s mother, repeated her own silent prayer.
“God, please don’t take my baby. Please don’t take my baby,” she begged.
For 20 minutes, doctors held Brenden’s heart, compressing it by hand until it pumped independently.
Brenden was brought back from the brink of death. Doctors didn’t think he would live through the night.
That was December. Six months later, Brenden has made a full recovery. Richard and Jennifer Scott believe God had a hand in it.
Dr. Stephen Guertin, medical director of Sparrow Children’s Center and director of the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, doesn’t doubt it.
“It was remarkable because everything had to work if he was going to live, and everything worked,” he said. “We don’t ever feel like we’re operating in isolation.”
A rare save
Today, you’d have to look closely to find any evidence of the accident that nearly ended Brenden’s life.
A scar at the base of his throat from a tracheotomy tube used in the hospital is the only visible clue.
On a recent Tuesday morning at the Scott house, Brenden pedaled his bike around the property, a blue helmet on his head. He occasionally let go of the handle bars and spread his arms out wide.
“I do wheelies on my bike, ride no-handed, ride a four wheeler and mow the lawn,” he said.
Brenden will be in fifth grade this fall. He doesn’t remember the accident or the month he spent at Sparrow Hospital.
“I’m not exactly sure,” he said, asked what happened the afternoon of Dec. 9 when he headed across the road to visit friends.
The driver of the mini-van didn’t see Brenden. The van was passing a slow-moving combine on Hawley Road when it hit him.
Brenden suffered a brain hemorrhage. Blood and spinal fluid could be seen coming out of his left ear. The base of his skull was cracked open and his jaw broken in more than one place.
Brenden’s right lung was punctured, his spleen was shattered and his liver was lacerated, Guertin said. Both his thigh bones were broken, there was a hole in his heart and he was bleeding internally.
There were multiple medical teams in the operating room with Brenden that night, he said. They worked to stabilize him for several hours.
“This kind of a save, when you do open massage, when you’re holding their heart, that’s pretty rare,” Guertin said.
Monica Sinicropi, a surgical nurse at Sparrow, was in the operating room that night
“My son’s eight, and I just couldn’t help thinking this could be my little boy,” she said. “I couldn’t sleep all night. I came in, and he was still alive the next morning.”
The Scotts saw their son at 1 a.m. The normally energetic boy lay motionless, on life support and surrounded by medical staff and equipment.
“He looked so small and fragile, frail. He didn’t look like Brenden,” Jennifer Scott said.
“When we first went into the PICU unit I think he had three IV poles, four machines each with 11 bags hanging,” Richard said. “He had four nurses with him and a resident.”
They stayed with Brenden, constantly working. Jennifer remembers watching it in wonder.
“They were like bees buzzing around him,” she said.
Brenden’s prognosis was bleak. Doctors told the Scotts he’d likely sustained extensive brain damage.
“They told us that, even if he did survive it, not to expect him to be the same child he was,” Jennifer Scott said.
Five days later, while still on life support, he woke up and, when asked, squeezed the fingers of hospital staff.
Jennifer Scott knew Brenden would surprise everyone when he gave her a thumb’s up from his hospital bed that same day.
A surprising recovery
In the days that followed, Brenden began writing messages to his family on a wipe board.
The Scotts attended daily meetings with hospital staff reviewing his progress.
“Every day there was like this awe,” Jennifer Scott said. “You could tell they were surprised that it wasn’t as bad as it should have been, could have been, might have been.”
Brenden had eight surgeries to repair his broken body in the weeks that followed, and, after each one, he fared better than doctors thought he would.
“Every surgery came out better than it was supposed to,” Sinicropi said.
The Scotts slept on pull-out couches and recliners next to Brenden for a month, rarely leaving Sparrow.
Family stepped up to help them care for their other four children, ages 6 to 11. Hospital staff rallied to purchase the family gifts for Christmas.
Fifteen days after the accident, Brenden, still on life support, celebrated the holiday in his hospital room with the entire family.
“And that was the first day he smiled,” Guertin said.
Brenden spent three weeks at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids before coming home.
Just last week, doctors removed pins in his legs, his last surgery. He still attends physical and speech therapy several times a week in Okemos and gets stronger every day.
“Now we have to slow him down,” Richard said.
Which is a miracle, he said.
“I know the surgeons have their skills,” Richard said.
“But God was there,” Jennifer said. “He had his hand in it all.”
Source: Lansing State Journal