The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Twice at Death's Door: Woman Suffers Failing Liver

By Amy Reid
The 700 Club Bryan and Jenny Drummond were newlyweds and fitness fanatics. They both ran the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, D.C., twice. Everything seemed to be going great for them until fall 2001. Jenny, a kindergarten teacher, suddenly had no energy.

"Jenny came home from school one day and just went to sleep on the bed in the clothes she wore to school. She had mentioned a little bit that she was having some abdominal pain, and that was very unlike her," says Bryan Drummond. "She was very active, in great shape, worked out five or six days a week, ran, and was just really full of energy all the time. That was such a puzzle to me to find her coming home and just going to sleep after work. I just didn’t know what was going on. I thought originally she may be pregnant."

She wasn’t pregnant, but other tests revealed elevated liver enzymes. Doctors told Bryan and Jenny it could be a virus that had to run its course, so they went home to wait it out. But Bryan felt that something else was wrong.

"I got concerned when I noticed the whites of her eyes beginning to turn yellow," Bryan says. "To me, that was more than feeling bad, being tired. To me, that signaled that something more serious was wrong."

Jenny’s fever spiked at 104 degrees. Brian rushed her to the hospital. A biopsy showed that her liver was failing, but doctors weren’t sure why.

Jenny was admitted to the ICU. Her doctors pulled Bryan aside.

Jenny Drummond and husband, Bryan, ran the Marine Corp Marathon together"They said, 'Your wife is in extremely critical condition,' Bryan recalls. "They told me that the liver was in total failure and that all of her major organs were beginning to shut down. She was beginning to have ammonia build-up in her system, which was affecting her brain, and they didn’t know what was going to happen."

Jenny had Wilson’s disease, meaning that her liver had lost its ability to process copper. A liver transplant was her only hope.

"It can take four to five days just for an organ to become available, and then it’s got to go through the matching process," Bryan explains. "They looked me straight in the face and told me, 'She just doesn’t have that kind of time.' "

Jenny was moved to the top of the list for a liver transplant and put on total life support.

"I remember that night was such a battle between faith and fear," Bryan says. "I just remember staying up all night praying and hoping and reading my Bible."

The next morning, Jenny slipped into a coma. Bryan hadn’t eaten or slept in three days. He went home to rest, and to pray.

Notes Bryan, "I was just praying to the Lord. I said, 'Lord, I know if anyone can save her, You can. Your Word, the Bible, says You’re a healer. I quoted Isaiah 53:5 that says, 'By his stripes we are healed.' I quoted Scripture, and I felt God’s hands on my back. He said, 'Jenny’s going to be OK. She’s going to survive.' "

The next day, Jenny’s doctor, Robert Sawyer, gave Bryan some very welcome news. They found a match, and it was on its way.

"That was a little over 24 hours since Jenny went on the transplant list, which really just doesn’t happen," says Bryan.

But then there were other concerns.

"They told me, 'You really need to pray for good weather because Jenny has really, really slipped, and if this organ doesn’t get here soon -- today -- she won’t make it through the night," Bryan recalls the doctors telling him. "Her blood had gotten as thin as water, basically, and they were really concerned that she could bleed to death throughout the operation, just because the doctor said it would take 12-13 hours to do the surgery."

Dr. Sawyer prayed with Bryan for a successful surgery. Only five-and-a-half hours later, Jenny was in recovery.

"He came in five hours into the surgery. Of course, you’re thinking, Man, I hope it’s the good news, but you just aren’t sure," says Bryan. "He said, 'We’re done. She did beautifully. She bled no more than any patient we normally transplant, and she’s done. She’ll be up in a few minutes into the ICU."

For things to go that well, there’s no question that the Lord had His hand in it," Bryan explains. "In fact, there were some nurses who said they’d never seen the hand of God work the way it did in that situation."

Commenting on the amazing speed of Jenny's liver donation, Dr. Sawyer says, "I think Jennifer would’ve probably died within a matter of days, one or two or three days, maybe. Certainly to get a liver available and to us in a matter of about 24 hours was very unusual."

Jenny awoke from the coma after several days. When she woke up, she was dumbfounded to learn what had happened. But she had something of her own to share.

"One thing that made me know that everything was going to be OK was that I saw angels," Jenny Drummond says. "I knew they were all around me. I was in ICU when this happened, and I would look up in the corners in the room and I even would buzz the little button for the nurse. I would call her in there. I know they’d think I was crazy, but when I would look up there, I saw these white-like clouds looking at me. I knew what it was, and they were just surrounding me. I never, ever, felt like I was by myself, even though physically I was."

Jenny recovered from the surgery and was home in less than two weeks. She later developed a bad infection. Doctors didn’t expect her to make it. The doctors told Bryan that that was more serious than the actual transplant.

"The only thing we knew to do was what we’d always done, just to really pray and believe and thank the Lord for getting her through and getting her over it," says Bryan. "Once again, God pulled her through."

"When you get that close, I think, twice, I mean, she was really at death’s door two times, and both times God showed up Himself to save her," continues Bryan. "Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible. It tells us that all things work for the good of those who love the Lord. We just have to rely on that, that something good is going to come of this."

A lot of good things have come out of it. In October 2003, Bryan and Jenny ran the Marine Corps Marathon together one more time. A month later, they discovered Jenny was pregnant with their daughter Faith.

"It was just the most awesome feeling just knowing that we were going to have her," says Jenny. "So, obviously her name is what we base our life on."

Even with everything they’ve been through, that faith is stronger than ever.

"Our relationship was strong at the beginning; we read our Bibles together and we prayed together. But after this happened, I think we both realized that the Lord still does perform miracles and He will provide in any situation," says Jenny.

Adds Bryan, "I learned very quickly through this that when all you’ve got left in the world is your faith, that’s all you need."

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