A man in England is alive today because his family gave him a chance. The Daily Mirror reports that Sean Chilvers, 30, was hospitalized and on life support after suffering cardiac arrest almost six months ago. Today, Chilvers is making a recovery that doctors never could have predicted. He is talking, making his own cup of coffee, and still very much alive. According to his family, this miraculous recovery only occurred because they went against doctor’s advice and gave Chilvers time.
Previously a healthy and active young man, Chilvers suddenly suffered a heart attack while alone in his apartment. His mother, Michelle, discovered him after he had already been technically dead for 30 minutes. Distraught, Michelle called paramedics and was instructed in CPR, which was life-saving for her son.
Even so, the oxygen deprivation led to a brain injury, the extent of which doctors are still trying to determine. When Chilvers arrived at the hospital, doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma while they raced to determine what had made a seemingly healthy young man so ill.
After testing and evaluation, doctors discovered that Chilvers had an undiagnosed underlying condition that resulted in too much potassium in his blood. The elevated potassium led to kidney failure, which prompted the heart attack. According to the Daily Mirror, doctors said that such a severe condition would likely result in an inability to walk and talk leading up to cardiac arrest. According to friends and family, this was not the case with Chilvers. He remained apparently fine leading up to the incident.
At the hospital, doctors were grim about the outlook for Chilvers. They encouraged the family to give up hope and remove life support while he was in the medically-induced coma. Unfortunately, this premature haste to remove life-sustaining treatment and care is common in many hospital settings. Many patients, like Chilvers, continue to improve and recover in ways doctors never could have predicted. When life support is removed prematurely from a person in critical condition, that decision can impose death when continued care would have brought improvement.
Thankfully, Chilvers’ family recognized he was a fighter, and they refused to give up so soon. His loved ones opted to continue care, and, unlike many similar cases, they had the legal right to request the continuation of care. After doctors allowed Chilvers to continue his road to recovery instead of ending his life, he made dramatic improvements. A mere five months after being dead for 30 minutes, Chilvers was conscious and awake, able to talk and perform basic tasks.
His mother told the Daily Mirror, “He is our little miracle and I will make him see how much he is loved. I just want him to come home.” She added, “He has done amazing.”
Despite the amazing recovery, the road has not been an easy one. Chilvers’ sister, Amy, said, “It’s been a rollercoaster of different emotions. The amount of times we’ve nearly lost him as his immune system is low has been terrifying. It hasn’t been very nice.” Imagine how much more challenging each setback would be knowing that doctors had already given up on him.
The journey continues to be a difficult one for his family. Amy explained, “But he is still here, we just have to accept that a part of Sean has gone no matter how hard he is trying but we love him regardless.” Amy’s sentiment reveals what many people believe about people with disabilities or brain injuries. Because someone is unable to do everything they once did or a child may be unable ever to grow to do activities that are considered part of normal life, people assume that their lives are not worth living. This view of human life is not only unethical but also patently false. No matter the disability or challenges, people who are alive are fully human, fully capable of living a full and meaningful life, and fully deserving on the Right to Life.
Stories like that of Sean Chilvers demonstrate why Texas so urgently needs Pro-Life action to repeal the anti-Life 10-Day Rule. When all that stands between a vulnerable patient and recovery is time, hospitals should not have the power to intervene and impose death by removing life-sustaining care against the wishes of the patient and his family.