Delivered from Danger by the Power of Prayer
By Audra Smith Haney
The 700 Club
CBN.com -On February 11, 2008 Barbara Oelschlegel arrived at the hospital seven minutes early for her shift as an ER nurse. She never anticipated what would happen in those next few minutes.
“He came in on a stretcher” Barbara said. “I did not see his face. I did not see his wife. I went to the computer to triage him. They handed me his license. And it said ‘Steve DeMoss!’ I said, ‘Oh my God, I know him.’”
Early that year, Steve DeMoss was in great health and traveling frequently to Africa with his ministry, called Word in Deed. Steve’s wife Sharon remembers waking up that morning and finding her husband in distress. “He was lying in the bed and grabbed his arm,” Sharon said. “His color change totally and he said he was in a lot of pain. And, the way he was acting, I thought he had a stroke.”
Emergency workers rushed Steve to the hospital, where Barbara, their close family friend, was working. “I thought, ‘Lord, tell everyone to pray for him because he might not make this.’”
So we initially got a CT of the head, consulted with neurology,” Dr. Paul Hope, Emergency Medicine MD, said. “And, called the pharmacy to start thrombolytic drugs to treat for an acute stroke. Less than 30 minutes later, his condition had changed. He now had nausea, vomiting and a very low blood pressure. That is not consistent with a stroke. It became a very complex case with multiple things we had to consider.”
Dr. Hope ordered multiple tests, including a full body scan. The results were alarming. “His diagnosis was an acute aortic dissection,” Dr. Hope said. “Basically the aortic root, through the arch of the aorta, down to the descending aorta; involving dissections of the vessels off of the aortic arch and the carotid arteries on both sides.”
“These are words that put a chill in anybody who speaks them in the emergency room,” Barbara said. “He was told there was a 4% chance that with this kind of injury he could live.”
Steve’s family was called in just before he was rushed to emergency surgery. “By that time they had him, he was intubated. He was totally out,” Sharon said. “They said, ‘You’d better call everybody. He is probably not going to make it. They need to say goodbye.’”
During the surgery, friends and family members decided to hold on to hope---despite the odds. “There must have been 40 people in the waiting room and they stayed with us the whole time,” Sharon said. “And then at one point, everybody gathered in the hallway and we prayed for quite a while.”
I sat next to Stacey, his daughter,” Barbara said. “And, I just felt like I should just focus on prayer and praying. I could close my eyes and I could look at that operating room and I saw angels on the ceiling of the operating room. And I just held on to Stacey and I said, ‘Stacey,I just feel that angels are in the room with him and things are going well.’”
“Fifteen minutes later, the surgeon walks out,” Sharon said. “And I see him out of the corner of my eye and I know it has got to be bad news, because it seemed like an impossible amount of time. And, he came out and he said, ‘He made it.’”
Although the surgery was a success, Steve was still in critical condition and in a medically-induced coma. But, the number of people praying for Steve continued to grow. “I can tell you that I know a lot of people were praying for Steve and they were praying all over the world,” Barbara said.
“People would send their prayers on ‘Caringbridge’” Sharon said. “I would just sit and read through their prayers. I knew that I was being sustained, that there were people lifting me up, and were carrying me, even when I didn’t know what I was supposed to do the next step of the way.”
Doctors told Sharon that Steve needed to wake up from the coma within 5 days, or he would suffer major brain damage. On the fourth day, he was showing no signs of recovery. She called a local church for prayer. “They came over immediately and they spent a long time,” Sharon said. “We worshipped. We prayed together. We held hands. We prayed over him. They anointed him with oil.”
By the next morning, Steve was awake and had no signs of brain damage. “When I woke up, my wife says, ‘Do you realize what just happened?’ I had all these tubes in me and everything. Then my kids came to me, my daughter and one of my sons, we huddled and we realized that the worst had passed.”
“I remember just being able to breathe after that,” Sharon said. “Like, it was going to be okay.”
“That was a pretty joyful realization that God’s restored what we had almost lost,” Steve said.
That same afternoon, Steve was walking around the hospital, and he was released just days later. “When I woke up, I heard that people were praying all over the world,” Steve said. “I had friends in Senegal, Uganda. I really believe that the prayers of the people is what brought me back. It was extremely touching for me. It just made me feel like, ‘I am so glad I am a part of the body of Christ.’”
Within six weeks, Steve was pitching in a softball tournament and just two months later, he returned to his work in Africa. “I feel like a million dollars,” Steve said. “I am in as good or better shape before this all happened.”
“The very fact that he survived this, let alone survived it without any significant stroke symptoms, kidney failure, or paralysis is quite remarkable,” Dr. Hope said.
“I don’t know how you account for him living,” Barbara said. “Not just living, but he lives well. He lives healthy. And I don’t know if there is accounting for it outside of the work of God in His life. He did recover and it was miraculous.”
“Prayer is as much for you as it is the other person you are praying for,” Sharon said. “Every miracle helped me to know that God was with me every step of the way.”
“I just believe that God chose to spare me so that I can testify about how amazing He is and the miracles that He does do,” Steve said. “God has done way beyond what anybody could have imagined or I could have imagined and I believe He can do it for you.”
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