Illinois man believed to be brain dead wakes up

Associated Press
Posted11/26/2010 6:27 PM

WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa -- An Illinois man who was believed brain dead after he had an aortic aneurism woke up and began talking, his daughter said.

Gene Stotts, 84, of Oquawka, suffered the aneurism on Nov. 15 and was taken to Great River Medical Center in West Burlington, where he underwent surgery, The Hawk Eye in Burlington reported. Stotts remained sedated afterward and tests showed the only part of his brain that was active was the portion that controlled breathing.


His daughters, Peggy Link and Shirley Martinez, said the decision was made Tuesday to remove him from the ventilator that helped him breath. Not wanting to hear their father gasp for air, they left the room, only to have a nurse come get them to tell them their father woke up and was talking.

"It had to be a miracle," Link told The Hawk Eye on Thursday.

Stotts was able to speak and identify his daughters. Link said she thought she was dreaming at first.

"He asked me for an ice cream cone," she said.

Stott's granddaughter, Angelina Ingle, said when she got the call that her grandfather was awake she quickly dropped her children off at day care and rushed to the hospital.

"I thought I had lost my opportunity to ever talk to him again," she said. "So when this happened, I thought, 'Even if this is a gift of just two minutes, I'm going to take everything I've got.'"

Stott went back into surgery Wednesday for follow-up care from the initial surgery but is doing fine, his family said.