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The 700 Club

Accidental Electrocution Tests Farming Family’s Faith

Jarrod Anderson - CBN Films Producer/Director
Ashley Andrews - 700 Club Producer

The soybean harvest was going as expected for Zach Short and his crew- until a call came over the radio that a combine had started smoking.

When Zach arrived, he went to climb on the combine to investigate. But no one realized it had come in contact with a low hanging power line.  

12,000 volts of electricity shot through Zach’s body. With Zach’s hand still gripping the ladder, the crew used a plastic shovel to pry him free and called 911. EMS Shane Pearson responded to the call.

Shane explains, “The biggest thing I noticed right off the bat was his feet. His work boots had just kinda been blown open. He was in very critical condition at that point.”

Zach was transported to the nearest hospital. At the time, his wife Jodi was at home with their one year old daughter Brynlee.

Jodi remembers, “I got a phone call that Zach had been in an accident and my first question was ‘Is he alive?’  Cause I had no idea of how bad the accident was.  And it was his mom on the phone and she said she didn't know.”

Jodi rushed to the hospital with Zach’s parents.

Chris, Zach’s father, says, “When you get to the hospital and you can just smell burnt flesh everywhere, it’s pretty bad. I knew how bad it was.”

Jodi says, “They told us that he was going to be flown to a different hospital and that's when it really hit – hit us that this is – this is not good.”

Zach was life-flighted to Via Christi Hospital in Wichita, Kansas, and admitted into their burn center. Doctor Robert Bingaman was the attending physician.

Dr. Bingaman, “He had some of the deepest uh electrical injuries I had ever seen,
Both of his lower extremities were uh severely burned and actually areas uh on his feet and ankles were charred. The chances of living were initially just no better than 50/50.”

Doctors put Zach into a medically induced coma and worked around the clock to treat his burns. They were able to stabilize him, but he was in critical condition. Jodi prayed and spread the word over social media.

Farmers that live around here would stop their farm equipment every day at uh ten and four and pray for Zach.

Three days later, he went into cardiac arrest.

Jodi says, “The nurses uh pulled me in the room and the doctor, while he was coding, and they were performing chest compressions on him.”

Lisa, Zach’s mother, says, “And we were just behind him and rallying, saying come on back. Come on back. Come back to us, Zach. And finally the nurses said we’ve got a pulse.”

But as quickly as Zach’s heart recovered, his kidneys began shutting down and his lungs started filling with fluid.

Jodi says, “The doctor told us ‘He's not going to make it.’ And he basically told us to tell him goodbye.  So, I took our daughter in and told her that he was going-going to heaven.”

Friends and family gathered at the hospital and waited for him to pass. But they soon realized God was still at work.

Dr. Bingaham recounts, “Blood pressure started to come up, and oxygen saturation levels started to come up and uh then he began to stabilize.”

Jodi remembers, “The doctor said, ‘I-I think he's going to make a liar out of me. I don't – I don't – he's getting better.’”
 
Lisa says, “God was in the room with us. He was there. He was answering people’s prayers.”

Dr. Bingaman says, “There's no doubt in my mind that God touched Zach that night and-and turned things around and gave him a chance.”

Over the next couple of weeks, Zach continued to improve.

Jodi recalls, “His kidneys started working and his lungs started to empty and the doctor was just like, ‘I have never seen anything like this before.’”

Unfortunately, doctors had to amputate Zach’s lower legs because of infection. It would save his life, but now they had another concern – whether Zach had suffered brain damage. The only way to find out was to bring him out of the coma.

Zach remembers, “When I woke up in the hospital it was like I had a whole bunch of dreams. I kind of knew what happened, but not really at the same time. My wife was the first one to come in there.”

Jodi recalls, “My first question was ‘Do you remember me?’ and he, of course, he said, ‘I'm not going to forget you and Brynlee.’”

Zach says, “And then she said ‘Well, you remember you got shocked in the field…’ and right there it clicked in my head. I remembered exactly what happened.”

The next 3 months would be hard, as Zach struggled through extensive physical therapy and multiple surgeries.

Zach remembers, “I would definitely get angry and break down quite a bit. But I just kept praying and thought, you know, there’s a lot of people out there that care about me. I have a lot to live for still. I just got to keep trying and God kind of showed me the light.”

Then, on Valentines Day, Zach was released to go home. His town welcomed him in the streets.

Zach recalls, “I couldn’t believe it. I had broke down when we drove through because there was people out there with signs saying ‘We Love You, Zach’.”
 
Lisa recounts, “He says ‘How am I going to thank all these people?’ And I says, ‘You know, from what I can see, they want to thank you. Because you’ve brought them back to their faith.’”

Zach has become accustomed to his new legs, and is thankful to get back to farming and being a husband and a father. In fact, he and Jodi are expecting their second child – a boy.

Jodi says, “If it wasn't for all the prayers God wouldn’t have heard that we needed a miracle, many, many miracles and we wouldn’t have received the miracle that we got.”

Zach says, “If you looked at what the doctor reports were and how bad my injuries were, there’s nothing that explains my recovery but, you know, God watching over me.”

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