Comatose Wife Taken Off Life Support, When A Miracle Happened

Ryan and Jill Finley were a normal couple living in Oklahoma City. They got married back in 2003 and were living their best lives since then. On an ordinary Saturday morning, everything got messed up for the family when Jill fell on a coma. That’s when Ryan had to make the hardest decision of his entire life. Nevertheless, some weeks later, something beyond belief occurred. Keep on reading to discover what happened!

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

#22. Panic On A Saturday Morning

Ryan and Jill Finley were a married couple from Jones, Oklahoma. Ryan worked as a plumber contractor while Jill worked as a loan underwriter. They shared a routine for their days off-work. Ryan used to enjoy his mornings by going outside to get some fresh air and read the newspaper. On the other hand, Jill would sleep more hours than she usually did.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

However, none of this happened on the morning of May 26, 2007. On that Saturday morning, Ryan decided to wake up his wife a bit earlier and immediately noticed that something was not right with Jill. Ryan explained that she wasn’t breathing. He started yelling and shaking her but she was unresponsive. That was when he decided to do something.

#21. A CPR Performance

After calling 911, Ryan proceeded to place his wife on the floor and put in practice something he had learned 10 years earlier on a medical course he had taken —CPR. The truth was that he had never tried doing it before, but he had no time to spare. He did it for what, according to him, “felt like forever; it felt like hours”, while he waited for the paramedics to arrive.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

The emergency team arrived 15 minutes later. The paramedics tried to resuscitate Jill by using a defibrillator, administering a dose of electric shocks straight to her heart. They succeeded in bringing her back to life, so they put her into an ambulance and rushed to the nearest hospital.

#20. The Emergency Room

Ryan followed the ambulance to the hospital in his car, and when they finally arrived, they took Jane to the ER, where the doctors worked for about 30 minutes to stabilize her. Next, they could start to actually help her. Ryan had to wait outside the room while they were trying to save his wife’s life.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

Thanks to Ryan’s quick reaction and the paramedics who restarted her heart before getting to the hospital, the medical staff could operate and do the best that they could to help their new patient. She was alive but her brain and heart had suffered from lack of oxygen for about 5 minutes. Even though she was breathing and her heart was beating again, she was unconscious.

#19. What happened to Jill?

At this point, Ryan still didn’t know what had happened to his wife. It turns out that she had suffered a cardiac arrest during her sleep, causing a lack of oxygen. Thankfully her husband and the paramedics could restart her heart before arriving at the hospital, but anyway, Jill was in a critical situation, so the hard work didn’t end there.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

The medical staff from the hospital had to put Jill into a state sometimes known as “Big Chill“. They had to reduce the temperature of her body. She was wrapped in a blanket which helped to keep her body cool. Dr. Michael Schoeffler explained that the treatment was basically induced hypothermia that helps to keep the temperature of the body down and that it is used to prevent brain damage.

#18. The Protocol

“For all of our patients who come in with a cardiac arrest, we started a hypothermic protocol in 2003… You’re supported on a ventilator, paralyzed and sedated so that you can’t shiver to generate body heat”, continued Doctor Schoeffer. The whole process benefits the brain and the objective is to avoid neurological damage caused by the lack of oxygen.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

Unluckily, things didn’t work on Jill. In fact, she didn’t respond to the treatment at all. 24 hours later, the doctors started to warm Jill up, supporting her on a ventilator and doing some things with her blood pressure and her heart rate. But there was no neurological improvement at all. Meanwhile, all that Ryan could do was wait outside the ER room, wondering if her wife was ever going to wake up.

#17. Bleak Situation

Some moments after, the doctors announced to Ryan the terrible news: his wife had officially fallen into a coma. Ryan was still trying to figure out how that could have happened when hours ago he was about to wake her up so they could enjoy that beautiful summer day together. He was in shock.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

However, he wasn’t willing to give up. He stayed by Jill’s side and kept a journal in which he wrote her letters, which he was determined to show her when she woke up. He remained hopeful against all odds, as he wasn’t ready to let her wife go. Without a doubt, he would do anything he could to help her.

#16. Low Expectations

After the last treatment’s failure, doctors suggested starting praying for Jill’s life, because her situation was alarming. What’s worse, after a few days, Jill’s situation started to look even harder. Doctors believed that the chances of a full recovery were grim. They told Ryan that the chances were no more than 1% since there were no signs of improvement.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

I couldn’t believe that at 31 years old, I wake up, and my wife’s not breathing. She was 31 years old at the time; it’s just something that you really, totally never expect at this age,” said Ryan in an interview. Jill continued to show no signs of improvement, so the following days were really hard for her husband, who stayed by her side at all times.

#15. Being Next To Her

Despite the fact that Jill wasn’t doing any better, Ryan and the rest of her family didn’t give up hope. They rallied around and stayed with her at the hospital, right by her bed. Ryan would even rest in a bed beside hers to watch her over, hoping she would get better. He started to work from the hospital since he didn’t want to leave his wife alone just in case she would wake up.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

During the time Jill and Ryan spent in the hospital they had a lot of visitors. Family and friends would show up to see how they were doing and spend some time with Ryan. He remembers that one time when Jill’s cousin gave him a bible. One night, he started reading it to Jill. He picked up the habit of reading her some passages each day, and sometimes he would even read for hours non-stop. He had never been much of a believer in God, but he was willing to do anything for his wife to get better.

#14. In Need Of Peace

After living in the hospital for 11 days, Ryan decided to go back home for the first time since Jill’s cardiac arrest. He needed time for himself, to relax and think clearly about everything that was happening. He had the most difficult decision upon his shoulders and since Jill wasn’t getting better, he felt a lot of pressure. Ryan was searching for clarity.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

He just wanted to be by himself for a while. He spent time doing things they would do together if Jill were there, like cleaning the yard. Ryan was willing to do anything to help his wife but he knew she would probably never recover from that situation. He revealed to the TV show Facing Life Head-On the moment when he made the hardest decision of his entire life.

#13. Receiving Bad News

Ryan couldn’t put in words what he felt but it was like a calm sense. “A calm, cool feeling came over me and just said, ‘It’s gonna be okay. ” Ryan couldn’t stop crying, as he realized he just had to let Jill go. He stayed at home that day and thought about it. Then, the following day, after sleeping at home and after finding the clarity he was looking for, he went back to the hospital.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

When he arrived he got some really bad news: Jill’s condition was worsening. He was really desperate and heartbroken. After receiving the news, he knew he had to trust his guts and let her go. Everyone noticed that Jill was going downhill and quickly deteriorating, so there was nothing more Ryan could do to help her. He decided to take life support off.

#12. The Hardest Decision

This is the kind of decision that no one should ever have to make. Choosing if a loved one lives or dies is the hardest decision ever. However, as time passed, Ryan realized that he was going to have to choose, and he had to do it soon, cause every second meant Jill would keep on suffering and getting worse.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

Ryan and Jill had never spoken about what they had to do in case one of them had a problem and was on life support. However, Ryan remembered an incident with his aunt a few years ago, and that ended being an indication of what he had to do and what his wife’s wishes would be.

#11. What Would Jill Want?

Ryan thought about when his aunt was placed on life support some years before and he remembered something that Jill had told him. She confessed to Ryan that she would never want to be kept alive with a machine if she were ever to be in the same situation. Being kept alive in a vegetative state was just not an option for her.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

After thinking about it a lot, Ryan talked to his wife’s parents about what he thought Jill would want to. He consulted them about it and came and concluded that putting an end to all the treatments was sadly the right thing to do. No matter how hard it was, he decided to turn off Jill’s life support so she could go and stop suffering.

#10. The Worst Day Of Ryan’s Life

That’s why he decided to remove her wife off life support, which was the hardest decision he has ever made. “Jill’s my soulmate and my wife, my everything in this whole world“, Ryan cried. It was up to him if she lived or died, and that’s a hard thing to deal with. “Today could be the worst day of my life. I essentially have to decide whether or not Jill will live or not. My soul mate. My everything.” wrote Ryan in his journal diary.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

Two weeks after Jill’s cardiac arrest, on June 9, 2007, the hospital staff finally pulled the plug. Ryan had to say goodbye to her wife, who by that time was only 32 years old. However, Jill didn’t pass away immediately and her husband stayed right beside her in the hospice for the next hours. At 11:45p m Jill started to get restless.

#9. The Last Signs Of Life

The doctors explained to Ryan what would happen after they took off Jill’s life support. They told him that she could make some reflexive movements or make some noises, a process that’s called the “last rally”. So, eventually, Jill started to show signs of life but he already knew what that meant. Her husband decided to stay with her during this period of time, that according to the doctors would be the last before her time was up.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

When Jill started to mumble, Ryan left the room because it was hard for him to be there and he was feeling physically sick. However, his parents stayed in the room, watching over her daughter in law. Ryan didn’t know what to expect when a nurse insisted him to go back to Jill’s room quickly. He knew he had to keep his expectations low but no one could ever have imagined what happened next.

#8. An Incredible Surprise

Only a few moments later, a nurse came running to Ryan saying he had to go back to the room. He took some minutes and didn’t move until his mother, who was in the room, came out to call him. When he returned he couldn’t believe his eyes: his wife was moving and talking! Ryan and the medical staff were completely stunned at what was happening. They couldn’t stop looking at Jill with surprise as her eyes opened for the first time in two weeks.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

Against all odds, Jill started to move and talk coherently. Ryan revealed that when he walked into the room, Jill was already talking, and according to him the first thing she said was “Get me out of here. I want to go home”. At that point, Ryan knew it wasn’t just mumbling and he started to get his hopes up. He didn’t want to get too excited though, but he confessed he was smiling on the inside all along.

#7. Jill Is Back

However, he tried to be careful and keep his expectations low. In order to be sure that it wasn’t only a reflex, he started to ask her simple questions about their life. He asked her what their phone number was, the names of their dogs and the name of their cat, their address as well as simple additions such as five plus five, two plus two and things like that.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol.

Thankfully she gave the right answers to those simple questions and so he knew something good was happening, he knew she was coming around. All of a sudden, Jill made an unusual request: she told him that she was ready to go to her favorite Mexican restaurant to eat. Apparently, she was craving for tacos!

#6. The Recovery Process

In September 2007, weeks after she left the hospital, Jill gave an interview to The Today Show where she said that the only thing she remembered from the time she spent on the hospital was the showers they wheeled her into, but other than that she didn’t remember a thing. However, she does remember some faces from the inpatient therapy she had to assist after waking up from the coma. She also remembers the names of the therapists who helped her in the rehabilitation center where she went in order to recover.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

At the rehabilitation center, Jill had to relearn elementary tasks as tying her shoelaces and brushing her teeth. She had to exercise every day to work on those things but, other than that, she was now a normal woman. Obviously, she had to keep on going to the hospital for regular checkups, and eventually, she underwent surgery to get a pacemaker. Luckily, she recovered successfully from that surgery and eventually, she went back to her normal life.

#5. Jill’s Condition

When Jill started to feel better, doctors finally explained what had happened that Saturday morning while she was sleeping in her home like every other day. The medical staff from the hospital said that it was an unknown congenital condition she had that caused a heart attack and lack of oxygen which finally put her in a 2-week coma.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

After being in the rehabilitation center for weeks, Jill was able to go back home. She had to struggle with some activities mentioned before but fortunately, she had her husband beside her. He never left her side and was always there to help her whenever she needed him and doctors said that the company was one of the main reasons why she had woken up. Jill was always surrounded by loved ones and that played a part in her recovery, as some patients can be aware of what happens around them while they are comatose. Keep on reading to discover what Jill thought about her husband’s decision!

#4. The Correct Choice

The vast majority of people would be upset if they find out their spouse had agreed to take them off life support, but this wasn’t the case. On the contrary, Jill said that his husband, Ryan, had made the right decision. After learning what had happened during the weeks she was in a coma, she claimed she wouldn’t have wanted to live the rest of her days that way and fully supported her husband’s choice.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

Jill agreed with his husband since the medical staff of the hospital told him she was going to be a vegetable, lying in a bed incapable of doing anything and wearing diapers for the rest of her life and according to what she said in an interview that wasn’t her. “I would not have wanted to live like that,” Jill said. Those are the reasons why she thought that her husband had done the right thing.

#3. Life After The Miracle

Since doctors didn’t have a clear explanation about Jill’s case, she told in an interview what she thought about the “miracle” they experienced. Jill said that she thinks that God is the reason why she woke up from that state and Ryan agreed with her. According to both of them, it was all the prayers and God what brought her back to life. Ryan said that if he were given the opportunity to do it all over again, he would do the exact same thing.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

Even though Jill has recovered well, Ryan still has some fears about his wife’s condition. The possibility of losing her wife still hunts him. They even told Today that they invented kind of a routine to calm those worries. Since Ryan always wakes up in the middle of the night, he kicks her and if she kicks him back, he knows that everything is OK and doesn’t have to worry.

#2. A New Way Of Living

Ryan and Jill determined that they would take full advantage of their second chance. They are now spending all the time they can together. Ever since this life-changing experience, they’ve become even closer than they were before, and it’s not like they weren’t close before! This experience helped them become more grateful for life and their marriage.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

They also have a new perspective on life, which has given them the ability to approach their daily triumphs differently. They have become inseparable, they do groceries, spend their weekends together and do everything they can, hand in hand. Seeing the incident with a new pair of eyes, they can even create some laughter out of it.

#1. The Importance Of CPR

Ryan Finley received a nomination for an Oklahoma Heart Hero Award, which is given by the Oklahoma Heart Hospital to recognize ordinary Oklahomans who have used CPR or AED to save the life of a fellow citizen, a friend, a neighbor or a loved one, like Ryan’s case.

Photo: Courtesy of Scribol

Now we know that Jill wouldn’t have survived without if Ryan had not administered CPR that Saturday morning while they were waiting for the paramedics to show up. Had Ryan not taken that cardiopulmonary resuscitation course a decade before, he wouldn’t have known what to do and Jill could have had a different fate. I guess it was just meant to be, right?

Related posts: