Michelle Deleeuw had been unconscious for weeks before doctors pulled the plug and a miracle ensued

By Joelle Goldstein
December 21, 2018 10:56 PM
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Credit: WDIV

A Michigan couple received a Christmas miracle a few weeks early.

After suffering a heart attack over the summer, Michele Deleeuw remained in the hospital, unconscious for three weeks, WDIV Local 4 reported. Her husband Karl eventually had to make the difficult decision, recommended by doctors, to take her off of life support when her condition did not improve, according to the news outlet.

But Karl and the doctors were left speechless when Michele suddenly regained consciousness.

“I truly believe she is a depiction of a miracle,” he told WDIV of his wife.

In August, Karl called 911 after his wife started having a heart attack, WDIV reported. At the time of his phone call, Karl believed that Michele — who quickly lost consciousness and was barely breathing — had died.

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Though Karl, 58, did not know how to perform CPR, the 911 operator walked him through the resuscitation procedure, and instructed him to lay Michele, 57, flat on the floor to begin chest compressions on her, before Sterling Heights paramedics arrived and took over.

Prior to being resuscitated and rushed to St. John Macomb Hospital, Michele had been without oxygen for 15 minutes, NBC News said.

“When my father called me after she was rushed to the hospital, was that he felt that she was dead. It was the most earth-shattering phone call of my young life,” the couple’s daughter, Myles De Leeuw, 24, told NBC News. “It was horrible to see my mother on more IVs and tubes than you can ever imagine.”

Michele DeLeeuw receiving the Survivor Coin
| Credit: WDIV

When her condition did not improve, Karl allowed doctors to pull the plug on his wife, which he told NBC News was the “hardest decision of my life.”

Despite the less-than-likely odds (Michele had 5 percent brain activity and 25 percent heart capacity), she began breathing on her own. Two days after being placed in “comfort care” for patients who are expected to die, Michele woke up, and soon after, began talking.

“She told the nurse she’s hungry,” Karl told NBC News. “I said, ‘Well, feed her’ … Two days later she was sitting up in bed feeding herself.”

Although she was initially confused after waking up and had blockages in her veins, Michele underwent open heart surgery, and speech and physical therapy, and is now almost fully recovered.

“I don’t think I’ve really processed everything that had happened in the last four months,” Michele told WDIV. “I just thank God I was saved… I know it means something good is going to come of this.”

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On Tuesday, she received the “Survivor Coin” by the Sterling Heights Fire Department. The coin, which was presented at an event that honors heart attack survivors and their responding personnel, is a token of her remarkable accomplishment.

As for Karl, who brought his wife home from heart surgery on their 26th anniversary, he is still stunned by his “miracle lady.”

Explaining how their relationship has overcome obstacles through “for richer or for poorer” and “in sickness and in health,” Karl said he is confident that his marriage can withstand anything after this experience.

“For me though, I don’t think there are a lot of couples who can pass the last one,” he told NBC News. “‘Til death do us part.”