Family, church celebrate after pastor wrongly declared brain-dead returns home
Ryan Marlow, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, was celebrated on Saturday as he returned home months after doctors wrongfully declared him brain-dead and almost harvested his organs.
“Yesterday was such a beautiful day. Hundreds of people came by to show love and support and we are just humbled. Many dear friends and many we had never met in person but the Lord makes us brothers and sisters in Him,” Marlow’s wife, Meghan, revealed Sunday morning on a Facebook page called Ryan’s Recovery that's dedicated to sharing updates on his recovery from a brain injury.
“Ryan was just shocked at all the love that was shown. For the last six months, I’ve been able to see all the messages and the comments and the support and the prayers. But he has seen just glimpses here and there which is what made yesterday that much more amazing. For three hours Ryan waved, smiled and interacted with hundreds of people. I’m so proud of him, I know he was exhausted,” she added.
Pastor Marlow, 37, was hospitalized last August due to a listeria infection that snowballed into a brain injury which led doctors to declare him brain dead later that month.
“The doctor came out [of husband’s hospital room] with about 20 other people as my witness and said your husband has clinically passed. He is clinically deceased. He has passed away. He has suffered neurological death,” Meghan Marlow recalled in a Facebook Live video on Aug. 31.
“They put the time of his death on his chart. That was it. I was called into a room and told that my husband was an organ donor and that we were gonna begin the process of finding matches for his organs. So that process began, he was on life support and they told me he would remain on life support until they found all of the donors,” she said.
She said doctors scheduled the harvesting of her husband’s organs for three days after they informed her that he was brain dead. For the next two days, Sunday and Monday, the pastor’s wife said she mourned the loss of her husband until she received a call from a doctor on Monday night telling her they had made a mistake and her husband wasn’t brain dead. They told her, however, that he was in a coma and could not survive without life support.
She further explained that doctors who had already written his time of death on his medical chart told her that they would adjust his time of death to the day his organs were to be harvested.
On the day her husband’s organs were set to be harvested, Meghan Marlow said when she arrived at the hospital her niece, who was in the room with her husband that Tuesday, saw Pastor Marlow moved his feet while she played videos of his three children singing.
Meghan Marlow was so confused at the news, she said she went to her husband’s room and asked everyone to leave.
“I told Ryan all the things that I wanted to tell him. That I loved him, people were taking care of me, that God was gonna make sure our babies were taken care of and it was gonna be alright. And at the very end I tell him, ‘If you’re inside of there and you can hear me, I need you to fight. I need you to fight like crazy. Because I’m about to stop this process of organ donating and we’re gonna get some tests done because I don’t know what’s going on,” she said. “Long story short, he’s not brain dead my friends. The doctor would not even do the brain death test because they said that there is brain activity.”
In celebration of National Brain Injury Awareness month in March, Meghan Marlow called her husband her “hero.”
“March is National Brain Injury Awareness month. I post this today in honor of my husband. He was living a beautiful and healthy life and then something as innocent as eating supper turned his world upside down with an Acquired Brain Injury from listeria,” she said on the Ryan’s Recovery page. “He is a fighter. He is the strongest man I know. He is my hero.”
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