A Texas teenager came back to life as his mother was praying for him moments after doctors declared him dead.
The medical director called Sammy Berko, a 16-year-old boy from Missouri City who has a rare genetic disorder that affects his heart, a “literal miracle.”
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Sammy was at a rock climbing gym when he reportedly went into cardiac arrest and died suddenly in January.
For Craig and Jennifer Berko, Sammy’s parents, it was a painful reminder of when they lost their other son, Frankie, at 16 three years ago.
“He climbed to the top of the wall, rang the bell, as we were told, and then his body went limp, and it looked like he was either playing around or passed out. They weren’t quite sure and when they realized he was unresponsive, they lowered him slowly,” Mrs. Berko told Houston’s Fox 26.
Paramedics and doctors gave Sammy CPR for two hours before telling his mom, “He’s gone.”
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Sammy’s parents prepared to say their goodbyes.
“I started talking to him, just telling him how much I love him and sorry that we didn’t know how to save him. Suddenly, as I started praying, my husband said, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s moving,'” said Jennifer to the local news station.
Sammy’s miraculous revival also came with some short-term memory loss.
“I don’t remember anything about the day it happened. The last thing I remember is the night before we had to sign waivers online (for the rock climbing gym), and then I woke up, not even in the pediatric ICU,” Sammy told Fox 26. “I woke up in the transitional ICU and that’s the first thing I remember. Then I remember my dad telling me, this is what happened and you better remember this time, because he said it so many times.”
Dr. Stacey Hall, medical director of the Pediatric Rehabilitation Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann
“I was very struck by his story. It’s very gripping and very unusual. That only young man you know, who had this Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), which is a super rare genetic disorder that affects his heart,” Hall told Fox 26. “We do see kids all the time here who have had CPR, but with very prolonged CPR, we typically see very severe global anoxic brain injury, so to me, he is a literal miracle.”
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Caleb Parke is the SMG managing editor. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and connect with him at calebparke.com.