By Dave Andrusko
Taylor Hale is 17 years old and, like who knows how many other young people, is about to graduate from high school next week– Waukee High School in Iowa, to be specific. She’s struggled some in school, particularly math, and knows that college will be a challenge.
But “I’m not a person who is going to quit because I can’t do something,” Taylor told Daniel Finney of the Des Moines Register. “I don’t give up.”
No one would debate that. In the fall of 2011 doctors told her parents Taylor was brain dead and that her injury was the kind that no one comes back from. Or so doctors said.
Taylor had been at a friend’s house on September 11, having attended her first football game. She had sat on the hood of a friend’s car, and when he backed up she fell off hard, Finney reported.
Transported to the hospital, Taylor was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. According to Finney
Taylor was put into a medically induced coma in hopes it would help her heal. But the prognosis was poor.
Taylor remained unresponsive for a week. Then, in the early morning hours of Sept. 17, she suffered a brain hemorrhage.
Doctors and nurses fought to save Taylor’s life. But at the end of a grueling session, Taylor’s brain sank part way into her spinal canal.
No one comes back from that, the doctors told Taylor’s mother, Stacy, and her father, Chuck Hale.
Nothing more could be done. Their daughter was brain dead. It was time to make arrangements
Enter what the family now calls “the Hand of God,” Jeff Stickel a family friend who had wanted to come for some time. A chiropractor, he felt God wanted him to treat Taylor but her parents thought otherwise–it was too late. Could Stickel pray with the family? Of course.
He put his hands on her neck and prayed for God to heal Taylor.
The family thanked Stickel. He left.
With all hope gone, the family prepared to turn off the life support that had helped her breath for six days. Then… suddenly…
Taylor struggled to take a breath under her own power.
They reconnected life support. As the day went on, Taylor’s brain activity began to increase. Her eyes fluttered. She made mumbling noises, trying to talk.
And finally, Taylor Hale, considered brain dead by science, awoke from her coma.
“It was the hand of God at work,” Chuck said. “That’s the only thing that can explain it.”
Their flicker of hope became a raging fire. They went from planning funeral arrangements to thinking about rehab.
Finney does a wonderful job describing Taylor’s slow but steady progress–from learning how to swallow again to talking and walking to progressing from a wheelchair to a walker to walking by herself.
But how did it happen? The family is unanimous. As Taylor told Finney, “God can save people,” she said. “I’m always thankful to all the doctors and nurses and therapists who helped me get better, but God did most of the saving.”
Of course it’s not been easy. She essentially has lost all her long-term memory and struggles with short-term memory as well. Thus school is a challenge.
Likewise her old friends, for whatever reason, have drifted away. A lot for a 17-year-old to handle, but handle it she has. Finney captures the drama and the glory:
The girl who was declared brain dead. She walks. She talks. She drives — which terrifies her mom, of course.
She is Taylor Hale, 17 years old. The girl who beat death