Electrocuted Man, 20, Was Revived 20 Minutes After Being Declared Dead: 'Miraculous'
CPR was the key procedure that helped Michael Pruitt not only survive the ordeal, but recover with no loss of brain function
A Michigan man who was electrocuted and declared dead was brought back to life thanks to quick-thinking doctors who revived him with an electric current straight to the heart.
Michael Pruitt, 20, was helping his step-father on a job at a Detroit area home on April 30 when the metal ladder he was carrying hit a live wire and electrocuted him.
“I remember being electrocuted while holding that ladder and shaking, and then nothing,” Pruitt said in a news release from Farmington Hills’ Beaumont Hospital, the medical facility he was later transported to after paramedics arrived.
After finding Pruitt, the home’s owner called emergency services and administered CPR until Livonia Fire & Rescue arrived on the scene. They continued to give Pruitt CPR and used a defibrillator while en route to Beaumont’s Level 2 Emergency and Trauma Center, but by the time Pruitt arrived, he had no vital signs and showed no signs of life, the hospital said.
“They brought in this perfect young man who had no vital signs,” recalled Dr. Angel Chudler in the release. “I said to my team, ‘We’re bringing him back.’ And then, I said to him, ‘You better come back!’ ”
Chudler had the hospital’s staff use a defibrillator on Pruitt once again, and when nothing happened, she made the call to use a second shock with increased intensity.
After two heart-stopping minutes, Pruitt’s pulse returned.
“When he became conscious again, he was like The Hulk, grabbing the railings and shaking the bed with huge strength. It took the entire care team to hold Michael,” Beaumont clinical nurse Yasmeen Bachir recalled. “I guess every superhero has to die at least once.”
“I knew he’d be okay when Michael made a sarcastic gesture when I asked if he had any other superpowers,” added Pruitt’s mother, Jillian. “My first-born had returned from the dead!”
Barbara Smith, director of Trauma Services at the center, explained that brain cells can begin to die in as little as five minutes when someone goes without oxygen. Because Pruitt was revived and had no apparent loss of brain function, the event was nothing short of “miraculous,” she said.
“Michael’s resuscitation is miraculous. He did not lose any brain function,” Smith explained. “It’s a testament to the importance of immediate and continuous CPR to move oxygenated blood to the brain.”
Pruitt is now home and recovering, and still has bandages on his big toes where the electricity exited his body, according to the hospital. He also got a tattoo over his heart to commemorate the ordeal. It shows the Eye of Providence inside a dream catcher.
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Pruitt, meanwhile, has found humor in the experience.
“When people ask if my hair spikes naturally,” he said, “now I tell them it’s because I was electrocuted.”