The Man Doctors Dubbed 'Miracle Payne'
By Mia Evans-Saracual and Sarah Purnell
The 700 Club
On a chilly November day in 2007, Eugene Payne was taking a jog on his favorite route when out of nowhere, a taxi cab plowed into him. Emergency crews arrived within minutes and airlifted Eugene to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland. On the way there, his heart stopped beating several times, but the EMTs revived him. Doctor Bizhan Aarabi, the Director of Neurotrauma, didn’t know if Eugene would live or die. “There was a 60% chance that he would either die or have a bad outcome.”
The medical team rushed Eugene into surgery. Doctors diagnosed him with traumatic brain injury. They said even if he lived, he might have to live with severe brain damage. He suffered a fractured neck, broken bones, and internal injuries. The 12-hour operation felt like a lifetime to Eugene’s wife, Janice, and their family. “My faith was being tested,” Janice says. “I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to do. And whenever doubt would come in, someone would come in the room and say, ‘Let’s pray.’ So we prayed at least seven, eight times within that 12-hour surgery. We were praying and asking God to save my husband’s life.”
Doctors had to amputate Eugene’s right leg. He slipped into a coma. “He was swollen from his head to his toe,” Janice remembers. “And he had tubes running out of his nose. I looked at him and we broke down crying. I was like ‘Oh my goodness! This is not my husband.’ They said ‘We’re going to give your husband until the end of this week.’”
Two weeks later, Eugene was still alive! Janice recalls, “Three weeks passed, he’s still living. I said ‘Okay, I’m going to trust God.’” Eugene had multiple surgeries. He suffered kidney failure, a staph infection and double pneumonia. “Everyday we were getting bad reports that ‘Your husband’s not going to make it,’” Janice says.
Five weeks after the accident, Janice cried out to God in desperation. “I said ‘I need You to show me some type of sign that this man is going to live.’ On New Year’s Day he opened his eyes. That was my sign! I needed the Lord to say ‘OK, this is it. This is it, Jan.’ That was my sign and I was overwhelmed, filled with joy! I was like, ‘Thank you, God!’”
After three months in the hospital and intense physical therapy, Eugene learned to walk again using a prosthetic leg. But doctors warned him that life at home would never be the same. “Doctors told us he would never drive again,” Janice says. “They said he can never be left alone in the house because of his traumatic brain injury. And they said he’ll never be able to go to the gym again.”
But Eugene wouldn’t accept those limitations. Together they worked hard at re-training his body and his mind. “When he felt like giving up, we would make eye contact and I said ‘Uh-uh, you’re going to beat this. You can do this. Do it. You’re strong.’ And I would motivate him and pump him up and I would give him Scriptures. I said ‘You know your favorite Scripture: You can do all things through Christ which strengthen you.’ And then you could see him getting up and saying ‘Yeah, I can do this!’ He beat the odds.”
Eugene says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Everything that man said I wouldn’t do I’m doing.” Eugene Payne is driving again, and working out at the gym. The man doctors dubbed “Miracle Payne” continues to surprise them with his amazing recovery.
“It was a miracle for Gene to be able to drive, to interact with the family and take care of himself,” says Dr. Aarabi. “Yes, this was absolutely fantastic.”
Janice says, “We’re thankful that God was there every step of the way. When they say He’ll never leave you nor forsake you, we are a living testimony to that.”
“Everything I been through, it could have been the other way,” Eugene says. “I could not be here, I could be gone. And God has kept me here. We have to enjoy life while we have it. I can’t look at what I don’t have, I have to look at what I do have and what God has done for me. God has blessed me and I give Him all the glory and the honor.”
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