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Missouri teen makes "miraculous" recovery after falling into icy lake

By
Amy R.Connolly
John Smith, 14, was submerged in an icy lake for 15 minutes and was dead for 45 minutes. He is fully recovered and was released from a St. Louis hospital. Screenshot from KSDK
John Smith, 14, was submerged in an icy lake for 15 minutes and was dead for 45 minutes. He is fully recovered and was released from a St. Louis hospital. Screenshot from KSDK

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A 14-year-old St. Louis boy who spent 15 minutes submerged in an icy lake and was considered dead for 45 minutes was released from a hospital with a few bumps and bruises.

John Smith said he doesn't remember falling through the ice on Lake Sainte Louise, being trapped underwater, or the attempts to get his heart to start beating on Jan. 19. All he remembers is waking up in the hospital.

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"After listening to what the paramedics and doctors said I'm pretty surprised at the outcome," he told KSDK.

Smith and his two buddies were crossing the lake on foot when the ice gave way. His two friends were quickly rescued, but it was harder to get to John. When he was finally rescued, after 15 minutes underwater, he wasn't in good shape. John barely had a pulse and wasn't breathing.

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Even with rescue workers and Dr. Kent Sutterer, an emergency room doctor at St. Joseph West hospital, performing CPR, there were no signs of life.

"He was dead for 45 minutes," Sutterer said.

That's when John's mother, Joyce Smith, started praying loudly.

"I said, 'Lord, Holy Spirit, just give me back my son," she said.

Within seconds, John's heart started beating.

Even with the heartbeat, doctors remained concerned about John's long-term brain function. Within 48 hours, John open his eyes and has continued to recover. While he needs some physical therapy to help with hand movements, he's doing fine, doctors said.

Dr. Jeremy Garrett, who also treated John, said he is amazed by the teen's recovery.

"It's a bonafide miracle."

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