When Taylor Hale was declared brain dead in September 2011 after a horrible accident, the parents of the 14-year-old girl could hardly imagine she would never wake up.
Taylor’s family gathered in her hospital room nearly 8 years ago. They assembled to say goodbye.
The date was September 17, 2011, six days after what normally would have been a silly teenage moment had spawned a terrible series of events that led to two parents preparing to say farewell to their beloved daughter.
On September 11, Taylor was with friends after the first Waukee High School football game when one of them said he had to go. Taylor and another girl playfully sat on the hood of his car to stop him from leaving.
When the boy unwittingly put his car in reverse, Taylor slipped off, hit the pavement and lost consciousness. Someone called 911. Someone else called Taylor’s mother, Stacy Henningsen.
Doctors and nurses fought to save Taylor’s life. But Taylor had suffered a brain hemorrhage that resulted in her brain partially sliding into her spinal canal. No one comes back from that, the doctors told Taylor’s father, Chuck Hale and her mother, Stacy. Nothing more could be done. Taylor was brain dead. It was time to make arrangements to take her off life support and discuss organ donation.
But a visit from a family friend seemingly changed everything.
Jeff Stickel, a chiropractor and a devout Christian, visited the hospital that afternoon telling them he felt God was calling him to treat Taylor. Taylor’s parents figured he was too late.
Stickel asked if he could pray with the family. They agreed. Then he put his hands on her neck and asked God to spare the 14-year-old’s life.
Later that afternoon, doctors took her off life support. And then, something unexpected happened: Taylor struggled to take a breath on her own.
For the next several hours, Taylor, now back on life support, started showing visible signs of improvement: her brain activity began to increase, her eyes fluttered, and for the first time in a week she was trying to talk.
And finally, Taylor Hale, considered brain dead by science, awoke from her coma.
“It was the hand of God at work,” Chuck said. “That’s the only thing that can explain it.”
Now, this brave girl is more determined than ever to live a happy, successful life. While Taylor Hale is grateful for the attempts of the medical experts who helped her, she attributes the fact that she is here today, breathing and her heart beating, to a higher power.
“I’m always thankful to all the doctors and nurses and therapists who helped me get better, but God did most of the saving,” she said.
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