Jake Finkbonner, a Washington boy whose life was threatened by flesh-eating bacteria, has told his parents he “spoke to God.”
The then five-year-old said he saw God sitting on a high chair in heaven and that he was very tall. Jake told ABC News, he asked to stay because it was such a nice place but God said he couldn’t.
“He sent me back down,” Jake recounted, “He said that my family needed me and everybody else down here.”
Jake was playing basketball when he fell down and hit his lip on the rim of the basketball hoop. The bacteria, strep A, entered his blood stream through his split mouth.
This bacterial infection can destroy muscles, skin and underlying tissue.
Dr. Craig Rubens, who treated Jake, told National Public Radio (NPR), “It’s like lighting one end of a parchment paper and you just watch it spread from that corner very fast, and you are stamping it on one side and it’s flaming up on another.”
The flesh-eating bacteria ate away at Jake’s face and for two months doctors at Children’s Hospital in Seattle fought to save his life.
Jake’s mother, Elsa Finkbonner, told NPR a representative from the Society of Blessed Kateri visited Jake and gave him a pendant with Kateri’s image.
"That was the last day that his disease progressed and the next morning when they had taken him in for surgery, that was when they told us the news that it had finally stopped,” she said.
Jake went home two months later. It has been five years since the horrific experience; Jake is now 11 and doctors have started rebuilding his face, piece by piece.
Else Finkbonner said, she has no doubt “that it was in fact a miracle.”
NPR reports that Rev. Paul Pluth has undertaken the investigation into Jake’s recovery to see if it qualifies as an authentic miracle according to Roman Catholic Church laws. In order to prove this, the Vatican would have to be certain that Jake’s recovery was unexplainable and that it happened because people prayed to Kateri on Jake’s behalf.
Pluth says, "The Catholic Church has many hundreds, even thousands of saints, and the idea is not to get more."
A panel of priests rigorously interviewed each doctor that worked on Jake’s case for over an hour, not mentioning a word about miracles.
"They took a very hard look at whether this really was something beyond what they described as the wonders of modern medicine," says Rubens.
The pope will now decide whether the incident falls under the definition of a miracle under Catholic traditions.
Jake Finkbonner’s full story will air on ABC’s “Primetime Nightline: Beyond Belief” Aug. 3, at 10 p.m.