‘Clinically deceased’ man shocks doctors by moving minutes before having organs harvested

By Sam Wareing

Published Sep 5, 2022 at 12:05 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

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A man who had been pronounced as clinically dead began moving just minutes before his organs were due to be harvested for donation.

Ryan Marlow, a 37-year-old pastor from North Carolina, US, had spent two weeks in the hospital battling listeria—a rare bacterial infection that is usually contracted by eating food contaminated with the bacteria—before doctors concluded that he was brain dead.

His wife, Megan Marlow, has said in a Facebook livestream that due to swelling on his brain, her husband’s condition had worsened, leading to a “neurological death.”

Marlow is a registered organ donor, something which has recently been a topic of conversation in Switzerland after the country controversially voted for a new ‘presumed consent’ system in 2022 in an attempt to save more lives. As luck would have it, his donor card saved his life, as doctors told Marlow’s wife that they would keep his body on life support while they looked for a recipient for his viable organs.

The pastor’s family had decided to meet on 30 August to collectively bid him farewell. However, when Megan arrived, her niece shockingly informed her that she had witnessed Marlow’s feet twitch after they had played him a video of his three children.

During the livestream, Megan explained, “I’m crying, and I don’t want to have false hope. This can happen when people are brain dead. They can have twitches.”

After she heard the news from her niece, despite the slim odds, she told the medical team she wanted her husband’s brain activity tested. “Literally, our team was standing there waiting to take him. I told the nurse, ‘Stop everything right now. I want tests done to see if he’s brain dead. I need tests done now’,” she added.

A CT scan was immediately performed, and to her relief it confirmed that there was still blood flow to her husband’s brain, meaning he was in a deep coma. These groundbreaking brain scans are used by medical professionals routinely, and one day could even be used to diagnose dementia.

Speaking about the miracle that saved her husband, Megan continued, “God’s kept him here. He’s supposed to be dead, he’s supposed to be at the funeral home right now according to these doctors.”

Since the scan was performed, Marlow had begun to show signs of an elevated heartbeat and had continued to twitch. However, his condition is still critical and, according to his wife, he is sadly still unresponsive..

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