The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Trapped in a Car and Left in a Coma

By Annika Young
The 700 Club - Karen Christopherson:  “The phone rang and automatically I sensed something was off when they said, ‘Is this Christopher Hein's mother?’ I’m like, like, ‘Yes.’  And they're like, ‘You need to get here right away.’ And I fell to my knees and I just was like, ‘"Jesus, Jesus, take over.  You see what's going  on.’"   

Karen Christopherson’s 17 year-old son Chris drove his car into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler. It took paramedics over an hour to pry him from the car. Chris was airlifted to Atlanta medical center where Doctor Stephanie Pannell was waiting.

Dr. Pannell: “My first thought was that this kid had an anoxic brain injury, which is when the brain doesn't have adequate oxygen for long periods of time. This type of injury is irreversible brain damage. So I was very concerned about what type of brain function Christopher would have if he survived this accident.”
By the time Chris’ mother arrived her son was in a coma.

Karen Christopherson: “I had never experienced such gut wrenching helplessness that I could do nothing for him. And he was in the care and the hands of very competent people. But he was also in the hands of a mighty God, too. “
After undergoing multiple surgeries, Chris remained in a coma.  Doctors were unsure of the outcome.

Dr. Pannell: “We have seen accidents as severe as Chris's but most of the time, with those types of injuries and extent of his accident; they either pass away shortly after the accident or never make a full recovery.”

Karen Christopherson: “My heart's cry was to save him and to let him live and to be 110% better.  That's what I prayed. I had my hands on him most of the time. I just believe in touch.  And the Spirit of the Lord was there in that room a lot.”
In the weeks that followed, Chris showed little sign of improvement. Then finally, 29 days after his accident, he woke up.

Dr. Pannell: “I'll never forget the night I got a call from Christopher's nurse. She was frantic because she said that Chris was flailing in the bed, was pulling at his tubes, was very purposeful in his actions, was trying to get out of bed. This was the most exciting phone call I had gotten in a while. It was so nice to hear that this 17-year-old was acting like a teenager and it was a sign that his brain function was recovering and it was a chance he was going to get better.”

Karen Christopherson: “It was just kinda just like he snapped out of it. There had been so many days where we had seemingly backtracked and for him just to look at me and just recognize, it just sent a wave of hope and it was just lovely.  I had my son.”

Dr. Pannell: “The first time I knew he heard me and squeezed my hand, I told him that I was going to take care of him.
One Year Later

Dr. Pannell:  “Christopher, you know, is my miracle boy.”
Amazingly, Chris has no memory of his accident.

Chris Hein: “That night I remember getting ready and going to sleep and then a month later in April I remember seeing my sister, really hazy and fuzzy. It was at night time, seeing her after the accident.”

Macy Christopherson: “Yeah, I would be a little fuzzy too, waking up from a month nap.”

Karen Christopherson: “When you come so close to losing the nearest and dearest to your heart, life kinda takes on a whole new meaning and gratitude is in every breath. God is capable of anything and everything. Don't lose hope.”

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