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Brain Dead' Student Awakens Hours After Doctors Suggest Pulling the Plug


"Nobody could ever give me a better Christmas present than this..."

It's an event being called a "modern day miracle" and the best Christmas present "ever ever ever". Sam Schmid, a 21-year-old University of Arizona student, awoke from a coma just hours after the doctors broached the subject of taking him off life support and organ donation with his parents.

Good Morning America reports that Schmid was in a car crash in October that killed two fellow passengers, leaving him with a brain injury that had "all the odds stacked against him," according to his neurosurgeon, Dr. Robert Spetzler. Now doctors expect Schmid to make a full recovery.

"It seems like we were being led down a path to plan for the worst and that things were not going to work out," said John Schmid. "The miracle, to put it bluntly, was that in a matter of seven days, we went from organ donation to rehab. What a roller coaster it was."

Watch the ABC News report including Schmid's comments on his recovery:

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Spetzler, from the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Phoenix, operated on Schmid who had an aneurysm among other complications from the accident. While it didn't seem like Schmid was responding, the procedure Spetzler conducted eventually worked.

Good Morning America continues:

For days Schmid didn't seem to be responding, but what puzzled his doctor was that he did not see fatal injuries on the MRI scan. So he decided to keep Schmid on life support longer.

"There was plenty wrong -- he had a hemorrhage, an aneurysm and a stroke from the part of the aneurysm," Spetzler said. "But he didn't have a blood clot in the most vital part of his brain, which we know he can't recover from. And he didn't have a massive stroke that would predict no chance of a useful existence."

At this point, the family was given an honest prognosis of Schmid's outlook -- it wasn't positive. Schmid's mother, Susan Regan, said that she just kept praying. Schmid eventually followed the doctors commands:

"Nobody could ever give me a better Christmas present than this -- ever, ever, ever," Regan said.

"I tell everyone, if they want to call it a modern-day miracle, this is a miracle," said Regan, 59, and a Catholic. "I have friends who are atheists who have called me and said, 'I am going back to church.'"

Good Morning America reports that Schmid doesn't have any recollection of the accident. Read the whole Good Morning America story for more details.

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