My brother Jeremy—not only a high school English teacher and an Iowa state representative but also a chaplain candidate in the Iowa National Guard—has a moving profile on Dustin Morrison, a young solider almost killed in Operation Enduring Freedom, barely surviving one of the largest IED explosions in the war in Afghanistan. God has used this near-death experience to make him a bold ambassador for Christ.
Here’s a portion of the profile when his mom walks into the hospital room in Germany, prepared to say her final goodbyes to her son in a coma:
When she walked into his hospital room for the first time, Pedersen could hardly stifle the shock at seeing her son’s swollen body resting on pillows stained with blood flowing from his ears. Listing the injuries line-by-line took more than a page to describe: burst lumbar vertebra, internal bleeding, failed lungs, and a shattered left femur, right ankle, and right hand. Morrison remembers wryly, “You know you’re bad when a broken jaw, lacerated spleen and kidneys aren’t a top priority to address.”
When doctors gave the family the report, Pedersen responded, “I am not in denial about how serious Dustin is, but God is so much bigger than all of this so we are not giving up.”
Still, Morrison seemed to be losing the battle. Pedersen and the rest of Morrison’s family prayed out loud. She told Dustin, “I don’t know if you can hear us or not, but I want you to receive what we are praying for you.”
Doctors told the family they had one last option: ecmo therapy. With less than a 25 percent survival rate in adults, this treatment involved cutting Morrison’s jugular vein and inserting a tube passing oxygenated blood from the femoral in his thigh in order to bypass the lungs. And it would involve a life flight to Regensburg, Germany.
Five days after the procedure, the lead doctor saw no signs of progress, concluding they were delaying the inevitable. Morrison’s entire family and doctors prayed. Morrison’s mother—sitting before me now in a brown designer vest with a tiny silver cross hanging from her neck—speaks with her hands pointed my direction: “I made it clear to God that we would use this situation to glorify himself even if Dustin did not make it.”
On Easter Sunday, doctors finally removed the machines—not to end his life but because they had witnessed a miracle. Against all odds, his lungs began to breathe on their own. When the news came to the family, Pedersen says that their reaction was overjoyed—but not shocked. “It was just like, ‘We know.'” She attributed the recovery in part to the thousands of people who were praying in the small communities of Iowa back home.
Still, the doctors were realistic with Morrison, explaining that despite the miraculous recovery he would never walk again. “I knew if I did,” Morrison says, “it would be of God. I’ve learned never to trust man before God.”
You can read the whole thing here.