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'Would you like to hear my miracle story?'

Baton Rouge, LA

“For emergency medicine physicians, one of the scariest emergencies we see is lack of an airway. When I saw her, I knew we’d better do something and do it quick because she was going down fast,” says Dr. Wight.

In March 2016, Lorraine Besson went to the hospital for what was supposed to be a low-risk spinal fusion surgery. Her sister Angela remembers the day.

“I was worried about Lorraine. It was a serious surgery where they had to go in, you know, from the front to work on her back. It seemed to go okay and then it was—then when she was at home later, you know, that-that things kinda went south,” says Angela.

At home the next morning, Lorraine struggled to breathe. She was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Soon after, her brother Neal got a phone call with terrible news.

“When we heard that 911 had been called and she was on her way to the emergency room, my immediate response was to pray,” says Neal. “One of her children saw her come out of the ambulance at the hospital and she said that she totally looked lifeless, that was very alarming to hear, so I knew it was a critical situation.”

“When we got the first call, all I could do was pray—just asked for God’s intercession, you know, to intervene in the situation, because I knew it was really, really serious,” says Angela. “And I honestly didn’t know if she was going to make it at that point.”

In the emergency room, Dr. Lura Wight knew something was blocking Lorraine’s airway. Unable to insert a breathing tube, she considered making an incision in her neck.

“And it was quite obvious to all of us that she needed to be intubated,” says Dr. Wight. “I looked at her neck and I just had this sense of foreboding that-that told me just ‘This is not an option. This is not a viable option to get an airway on this patient.’ And I just—we were able to keep her oxygenated while we were waiting for anesthesia to get there and I chose to do that rather than make an incision in her neck,” says Dr. Wight.

The anesthesiologist arrived and was soon able to establish an airway. They then found the source of Lorraine’s complication from her previous surgery.

“She had a nick in her thyroid artery and the blood was slowly leaking out of that artery into her neck,” says Dr. Wight. “Had we put an incision in her throat anteriorly to put a breathing tube in, she quite frankly could have bled to death right there on the table.”

Lorraine was moved to the ICU on a ventilator in a drug-induced coma. Her family continued to pray.

“It was very hard waiting,” says John. “Lorraine was very much a big support of mine all through my whole life. We kinda came in at-at—when we were given a chance to, and-and prayed with Lorraine there in the room in the ICU and it was frightening to see her lying on her back like that,” says John.

After 10 days, Lorraine began breathing on her own. Her family was thankful that she was still alive yet concerned that she may have suffered brain damage due to the lack of oxygen.

“I thought for sure without oxygen for that long she was going to have severe damage, you know, to her cognitive functioning,” says Angela.

She was sent to rehab to continue her recovery. Dr. Martin Setliff was the attending physician.

“She was having difficulty the first few days even recalling what she did even the previous hour,” says Dr. Setliff. “And she also had a mild component of an anoxic brain injury, which indicates that in the period of time that her airway was blocked she was unable to get adequate blood flow to her brain. I did have concerns that given the nature of her injury and the severity of it, that her time in our unit could be anywhere from three to four weeks possibly,” says Dr. Setliff. “She was fortunately able to undermine my original estimation and she got out of the rehab unit within about 13 days.”

Lorraine made a full recovery and is grateful for the miracles God did for her along the way.

“I know that Jesus is alive and well today and that He does still do miracles,” says Lorraine. “I’m-I’m proof of that. I should not be sitting here telling you my story. It was only through the intervention of God. He had his hand on it from the beginning to the end, from the ambulance all the way to surgery where I was then able to breathe and not in danger,” says Lorraine.

“I am a firm believer in if God is ready for you, you will go, and if God is not ready for you, you aren’t going anywhere,” says Dr. Setliff. “And I’ve seen this happen time and time again. I’ve had people walk into my ER and six hours later they’re on a vent deathly ill and die. I’ve had them come like Miss Besson, critically ill, on death’s door, and end up walking out of the hospital two weeks later,” says Dr. Setliff. “In all of this, physicians play a role, but the ultimate decider of who survives and who does not, is God.”

“It’s been five years since this happened, and I still will ask people, strangers, ‘Would you like to hear my miracle story?’” says Lorraine. “And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told them my story and then they say, ‘Thank you so much for telling me your story, I needed to hear that today.’”

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