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The 700 Club

Medical Emergency Launches Platform for God's Glory

Randy Rudder - 700 Club Producer

“They were ready for me to have a stroke or a seizure. And they were like, ‘Okay, you're going to go to the OR now.’ And I said, 'Wait, we have to stop and pray,'” Angela Lorio says. 

“Dr. Griffin basically explained to us, ‘Your organs are shutting down. The only way I can do anything to save your life, is to take this child, even though he's only got 27 weeks,’” her husband recalls. “So, that's when people started praying.”

In 2013, Neil Lorio and his wife Angela were thrilled to be pregnant with their first child, John Paul. But on Palm Sunday, Angela became seriously ill. Neil rushed her to the hospital.

“We're about a 20-minute ride normally to the hospital and we got there in about 6 minutes,” he says. “I brought her into the emergency room, and they went to take her blood pressure. They couldn't do it with the machine. They had to do it by hand. And it was 200 over something, and that was very scary.” 

Angela was diagnosed with HELP syndrome, a condition similar to preeclampsia, that put her life and the life of John Paul at risk. “If preeclampsia goes on to become much more severe, it can lead to HELLP syndrome. That stands for Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes and Low Platelets,” Dr. Evelyn Griffin explains. “It can be a high rate of dying from this condition for the woman, and also for the baby they are carrying, so I had this conversation with both of them, and I reached out to family. That we will need to go forward and deliver John Paul.”
 
“I just turned it over to God, because if something happened to me, what would happen to John Paul?” Angela says. “I didn't know how I was going to take care of this child by myself, so I was just praying that she was going to pull through,” Neil adds. 

John Paul was delivered via cesarean section. He weighed just 1 pound, 12 ounces. Still, the life of mother and child hung in the balance. “They didn't know until his routine ten-day cranial ultrasound that the ventricles in his brain were large and building up with spinal fluid. In addition to that, he wasn't breathing,” Angela says.

“He wasn't getting the oxygen that he needed. I was discharged on Good Friday, which we now know was too soon. I was swelling so much I had to actually go to a jeweler and have my wedding ring cut off. And it was Easter Sunday, early in the morning, so we went back to go back to the emergency room, and they had to take some fluid off and put me on an I.V.”

Angela slowly began recovering. She now turned her attention to helping her son who desperately needed surgery. “He could not be extubated. He had to stay on the ventilator. I said, ‘Can we give him one more chance before he goes into surgery to get a trach? And when he was on my chest, he was literally clawing up my chest because he couldn't breathe. I said, ‘How soon can he have that surgery?’”  

John Paul struggled in the NICU unit of the hospital, his mother constantly by his side. “I didn't leave,” Angela says. “And it was those little miserable half sofas in the NICU that I had, that they let me stay in, thank God. It was heartbreaking because he was isolated and I couldn't touch him. Unless he was having a good day, I couldn't even hold him.”

Angela and her community of faith prayed for John Paul’s survival and a successful surgery. “Although it was heartbreaking, after that, he thrived. He gained weight. It was miraculous. Even the look in his eyes, you could see the look in his eyes, he was like “OK, I can breathe.’” 

Five months and several surgeries later, John Paul was ready to go home. “Then I actually saw him for the first time with nothing on his face. There were no stickers, there were no tubes in his mouth or in his nose. I saw his face,” says Angela. “It was God looking back at me. To be able to see that, after seeing him suffer for so many months. And also, his neurologist, she said, ‘You know what? He's going to make it.’ And I knew I could take that to the bank.”
 
Dr. Griffin adds, “I absolutely believe prayer was a factor here. I pray before procedures or surgeries on any of my patients. And in this case, we prayed openly together, and I believe that the hand of God was with us, and continues to be with John Paul.”

Although he has some developmental delays, John Paul is growing and thriving today. His parents thank God for the gift of life they see in their son every day.

“We didn’t know if he could walk,” Angela says. “We didn’t know if he was going to be able to talk. And now having him run and jump. I just ask God, ‘How?’ I just can’t believe it even though it’s been nine years.”
 
“Just as she sees John Paul as a miracle in her life, that happiness and joy just comes back to so many others that he encounters. It’s a constant reminder of God’s presence in this world. And I’m continuously impressed with Angela and her ability to look at everything through the lens of the goodness that God gives us every day,” Griffin says. 
 
Neil adds, “This is a story that God wanted to happen so He could get the glory out of it and He could show what people of faith can do.”
 
“Our churches, our friends, people all over the country were praying,” says Angela. “That's why we made it through. And we cannot praise Him and thank Him enough by our lives.”

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