TOP 10 ARTICLES OF 2021: Mom wakes from coma the day before she was supposed to be removed from ventilator

Originally published January 15, 2021

Lisa Martin is considered a miracle patient. The Georgia mother-of-four was admitted to the hospital in September with COVID-related complications. Her condition deteriorated and the hospital told her family to say goodbye. Against the odds, Martin walked out of the hospital and went home on her way to recovery in December.

In a Facebook post from Memorial Satilla Health, the hospital shared part of Martin’s story with a video of her walking to a waiting car while hospital staff stood to cheer her on. In a time when people want to hear good news, Martin’s story of recovery is a beacon of hope.

The hospital shared, “Her amazing journey includes 59 days on a ventilator, 40 days in an induced coma and surviving a frontal lobe stroke.” The post continued, “On Oct. 20, Lisa was comatose, her eyes fixed. The hospital called in her family to say goodbye. They decided to give it 11 days before making a decision about removing her from the ventilator that was breathing for her. But God had other plans. On the eleventh day, Lisa broke through the sedatives and began tracking Jeff with her eyes and she moved her hand.” 

Martin told People magazine, “I can’t wrap my head around what all has happened.” The experience has given Martin a lot to think about and process, and she still has a long road of rehabilitation ahead of her. Even so, she told People, “I am shocked but amongst all the overwhelming feelings, I feel like this is definitely a God thing.”  

Before her terrifying experience with COVID and the aftermath of her illness, Martin says she had reached a low point in life. She said, “I got to a point where I felt like no one cared for me. I didn’t have a lot of friends, my kids are all grown up and independent and my husband works all the time. I was lonely, but this experience has shown me how loved I truly am.”

For Martin’s family members, the experience has also strengthened their faith. Martin and her husband of 29 years, Jeff, have four adult children, ages 19 to 27. Martin’s daughter Madison told People, “Our family has always had a strong Christian faith, but going through this has changed our lives for the better.” She explained, “Did it suck for my mom to get COVID, almost die and now fight to get back to having a normal life? Absolutely! But if God wanted to use my mom as an example on how to keep faith during struggles, dark times and hardships, then I thank God for using my mom.”

Martin’s husband says he hopes his wife’s story will “encourage and help” people facing great difficulties. He said, “I know that doctors can treat patients medically, but healing comes from God.” He acknowledged the many families who lost a loved one during the pandemic.

Martin is considered a miracle patient, but her recovery from the coma is not unique. When families face pressure from hospitals to remove life-sustaining care, lives can be cut short. Each year, Texas Right to Life hears from families in situations similar to Martin’s. If families are pressured or forced by anti-Life law to submit to the hospital’s decision to remove care, the hospital has the power to end the patient’s life.

The experience of comas and conditions like locked-in syndrome are not well understood. Organizations like Texas Right to Life, HALO, and the Terri Schiavo Hope and Life Network help patients and their families understand their rights and advocate for Life in medically complex situations. When families know that they have options, they can stand for Life. When options are denied and hospitals wrongly have the power to make life-and-death decisions, the law needs to change.

For Lisa Martin, going home is the beginning of a long road to full recovery, but the experience has strengthened her faith and her family. Because her family gave her time, Martin remained on life-sustaining treatment when she needed the assistance and recovered when no one expected her to recover.

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