At the Beaumont Hospital in Farmington Hills, Michigan, they call him a “miracle man.” When the American Michael Pruitt (20) became electrocuted in an accident, he gave no sign of life for 20 minutes. The doctor who received him at the First Aid decided not to give up and tried to get him back.
Michael himself does not remember much about what happened that day. He was helping his stepfather on a wharf in a suburb of Detroit and carrying a metal ladder. Suddenly it hit an electric cable. “I remember holding the ladder and shaking,” he says on the hospital’s website. “Nothing more after that.”
The owner of the yard immediately called the emergency number and started resuscitating Pruitt. Four minutes later the ambulance from the local fire brigade arrived. The paramedics took over and also used a defibrillator. Meanwhile, they took him to the emergency room at the Beaumont Hospital.
He ended up there with Dr. Angel Chudler. “Michael still showed no sign of life, but I told my team that we would not give up,” she says. “I told Michael himself that he’d better come back.”
In the meantime, almost 20 minutes had passed, a critical point. For example, in some countries, the regulation Council applies a 20-minute rule: “If after CPR and shocks with an AED there is still no recovery of the circulation, you should stop”
Chudler was not yet at that point. She used the defibrillator again without result. A second time she gave him a shock. Two minutes later the unbelievable happened: Michael’s heart started beating again. “When he came to consciousness, he looked like the Hulk,” said nurse Yasmeen Bachier. “He grabbed the bar of the bed and shook it with enormous force. We needed our entire team to control him.”
Pruitt was only injured in the place where the electricity left his body, between his toes. He had burns there. They are now cared for and connected. But other than that, he was unharmed and he won’t be left with anything to do with the incident.
“His recovery is miraculous,” said Barbara Smith director of the trauma service. “In less than 5 minutes, brain cells begin to die due to a lack of oxygen. He has lost none of his brain functions. This clearly demonstrates the importance of immediate and continuous CPR when someone’s heart stops, so that oxygen-rich blood continues to flow to the brain.”