An 18-year-old who was pronounced brain dead after being hit by a van blinked and began breathing on his own hours before his organs were due to be donated.
Lewis Roberts, from Leek, Staffordshire, was hit by the vehicle in his hometown on March 13 and sustained catastrophic head injuries.
He was rushed by air ambulance to the Royal Stoke University Hospital where his family were told four days later he’d lost his fight for life and to say their last goodbyes.
They agreed to donate Lewis’s organs to help seven other people, but just hours before the surgery the teen started to breathe again on his own.
His sister Jade Roberts, 28, posted an extraordinary video with her brother from his hospital bedside on March 18.
She was recording the machine monitoring his breathing and said: ‘Are you ready Lew, one, two, three breathe.’
The device then showed a brown line and she yelled out in shock, adding: ‘Have a break, clever boy.’ Someone added through tears: ‘He’s just twitched.’
Later in the clip, after several futile attempts to get him to breathe on his own – Jade said: ‘One, two, three, and a big breath.’
The machine again turned brown and his sister said: ‘I’m telling you, Lew, you’re amazing, you are amazing.’
And in an update, Jade said on March 26 he’d managed a whole day without using a ventilator, but she said on March 28 he had to use it again due to what could be a chest infection which is being looked into.
Jade Roberts added in a Facebook post last week that after taking out various tests the hospital informed them that Lewis had given up the fight, no response and had suffered brain stem death.
She said that they signed forms you wouldn’t even believe and conversations you’d never believe, and that they were planning to say their last goodbyes, and that her brother was officially certified as dead last week, and that his death was even reported to the coroner.
Jade said that she headed up at midnight to hold her brother’s hand and she asked him to breathe after one, two, three, and she said that they were waiting for a brown line to register for numerous days, to confirm he’d taken a breath for himself but they had nothing.
She said that when she said breathe the brown line showed and he took a breath, but they were told it must be a mistake and that it was impossible.
And the hospital said that they were sorry and that they realised it was a difficult time for the family, and they agreed that Lewis could no longer hear them.
She said that she got back home to a phone call that Lewis was breathing and that his eyes were dilating, which before there was nothing, yet they’d been told he was brain dead and had suffered brain stem death and was declared as dead.
The hospital family can’t even believe the miracle and they said they’ve never witnessed this and that Lewis was the second person in the whole wide world to do this, but where there’s life there’s hope, and it just proves how cautious we must be about turning off the machine and declaring those who are in a coma beyond recovery, and medical ethics mustn’t be allowed to slip away in our increasingly utilitarian society.