Four medical specialists declared 17-year-old Steven Thorpe brain dead after he suffered devastating injuries in a 2008 car accident, and prepared to harvest his organs. But Thorpe's family had second thoughts, refusing to give the okay to end his life. And it's a good thing because Thorpe woke up from his “irreversible” brain damage and five years later is making, by his own estimation, a “full recovery.”
The U.K.'s Daily Mail recalled that Thorpe, a British secondary school student, was riding in a Land Rover with two friends in February 2008 when the vehicle hit a horse in the road, killing one of the other young men and severely injuring Thorpe, whom doctors declared brain dead two days after the accident. “The doctors were telling my parents that they wanted to take me off the life support,” Thorpe, now 21, recalled to the Daily Mail. “The words they used to my parents were, 'You need to start thinking about organ donations.'”
But Steven's parents, John and Janet Thorpe, were convinced that they had seen a flicker of life in their son's eyes, and instead of giving the hospital permission to proceed with the organ harvesting, they decided to get a second opinion. “They still believed I was there,” the younger Thorpe said. “When they sat around the bed they had the feeling I was there and some words they said to me I reacted to.”
John Thorpe contacted Dr. Julia Piper, “known for her work in traditional and alternative medicines,” reported the Mail. Piper in turn asked a neurosurgeon she knew to visit the boy at University Hospital in Coventry. After examining Steven, that doctor determined the teen was not “brain dead,” and while it appeared to be a long shot, he had a small chance of recovering. Thorpe's doctors agreed to try to bring their patient out of his medically induced coma, and within two weeks he had regained consciousness. Seven weeks later he left the hospital.
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