On the morning of Monday, 20 April 2009, Suzanne Chin suffered a severe cardiac arrest and was warded in ICU in hospital in Hong Kong. Attempts to revive her failed and only after 2 hours, vast amounts of dopamine and adrenaline, was her heartbeat stabilized. However, she remained in a critical condition as all tests concluded that there was no brainstem activity. Suzanne was diagnosed with brainstem death with little hope of recovery of life. Yet today, doctors are unable to tell what was the cause of the ailment. The torn aortic valve which was so visible on the heart scan on the days following her collapse and was originally thought to have been the proximate cause of her ailment is now completely undetectable. Suzanne lives a full healthy and happy life in a close walk with the One who heals. Doctors confirm that she does not have a heart condition. The following 2 testimonies, one from Suzanne Chin and the other from her brother, Dr Alan Chin, a medical doctor reveal the unfolding story of grace and mercy of a God who is mighty to save.
Only by His Grace & Goodness: Suzanne Chin, August 2009
On 20th April 2009, a series of events transpired which I know to be a true testament of God’s awesome power. I am here today and writing this only by His grace and His goodness.
In 2009 I was living in Hong Kong and on that Monday morning I set out on my usual early morning walk with my dog. However after just 15 minutes into a walk which would normally last at least an hour I turned for home. I do not know why I cut the hike short as I have no recollection of feeling unwell at all but something just made me go back. Upon arrival, I apparently told my husband
John that I was feeling somewhat faint as from that time on my memory of what happened is hazy but the last thing I recall was John saying how pale I looked as he helped me into bed and saying that he would call an ambulance. That was the last thing I remembered until I woke from my coma.
The rest of what I write here is John’s account of what happened to me. John recalls that I was looking deathly pale and as was getting progressively less responsive with each passing minute and therefore very worried decided to call for medical help. I was still conscious but extremely woozy when wheeled into the ambulance on a trolley. John followed behind the ambulance in the car. It was rush hour on a Monday morning in Hong Kong but strangely, whilst the traffic was heavy and the ambulance did not have its siren on, the traffic parted like the Red Sea and a journey that would usually have taken 30 minutes took just 10. At the hospital John immediately found a parking space and went into the hospital to see where I was in the receiving room and it was only when John came to speak to me that he found me unconscious. The ambulance attendants who had at the time assumed that I remained conscious checked realized that my heart had stopped beating.
The entire medical staff on duty at the emergency unit immediately sprang into action to try to revive me with electric shocks and huge amounts of stimulants but each time they shocked my heart, my heartbeat would faintly come back but very quickly afterwards my very weak heart beat would slow down and stop again. It took almost 2 hours and vast amounts of dopamine and adrenaline until they at last managed to stabilize my heartbeat however I was in critical condition and all tests that were carried on me that day concluded that there was no brainstem activity and I was promptly diagnosed with brainstem death. At this stage, I was being kept alive by a machine, breathing and all other functions were being carried out artificially as my dead brain could not even do the basic tasks. With this grim prognosis, John started to make calls to my family who flew up immediately to be by my side late on that Monday evening.
By Tuesday, things were looking even worse and the doctors told John and my family that they had to accept the fact that I was dead and that I would not be coming back. They also said that there was only a 1% chance that I would recover and even if that happened I would be severely brain damaged..
Notwithstanding, my family and friends never gave up hope. Everyone prayed for me including many at the Church of our Saviour Healing rooms.
On Wednesday, the technician who was monitoring my brain for activity found some signs of activity but doctors were skeptical. The neurologist spoke to me and asked me to move my fingers. I did not respond but when my brother came to my side and did the same and I moved my fingers in response. The doctors all said that it was probably a reflex reaction and cautioned John and my family not to expect any improvement. After a second and third Neurologist also concluded that my brain was dead recovery was looking impossible.
On Thursday, John spoke to me and asked me to nod three times. While still in a comatose state I was able to respond by nodding exactly three times. Several times during that day, I appeared to be struggling to open my eyes and trying to wake up.
On Friday I regained consciousness. At first I thought I had been sleeping but when I realized I was in a hospital and that many of my family and friends had flown to Hong Kong from Singapore, I realized that something very serious had happened to me.
By Saturday afternoon they ICU staff had pulled out many of the tubes that were connecting me to the various life saving machines and I started to speak and drink a little. By Sunday I was sitting up and speaking and even started walking around late in the day. The doctors were dumbfounded and could not explain what had happened.
God was indeed watching over me. I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I had not come back from my walk earlier than usual. John’s quick reaction in calling the ambulance, the true miracle of Hong Kong drivers making way for an ambulance even when it was rush hour, the doctors
unrelenting attempts to revive me even after the usual 45 minute protocol were not coincidences but was evidence of God’s guiding hand.
While I was in a coma, . I recall vividly being in a room of an apartment. I was on a bed with many pillows and covered with a blanket. I recall not being able to move or speak. A man appeared by my side. He looked peaceful enough and did not appear overtly threatening in any way but something in me (I believe it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit) knew that he was evil. He communicated to me without speaking. He told me that if I wanted to get up or speak, all I would have to do was to follow him, to succumb to him. I told him to leave me alone and declared that I was a child of God. Over and over again I said this and recited the Lords’ prayer and every passage from the Bible that I could recall and sang every hymn/song that I remembered. I also remember calling out to Jesus and asking Him to save me. The man faded in and out several times and on the last occasion, he started to get angry. He threatened to take my daughter if I refused to follow him. Again, without hesitation I told him that I knew he was lying and that he had no power over me. It was at that moment that I woke from my coma to see my husband John standing by my bed.
The doctors both in Hong Kong and in Singapore to this day remain unable to find a medical explanation for what transpired. I have been going for continuing medical checks and not only have the doctors pronounced that I have no heart problems at all but additionally that the torn aortic valve which was so visible on the heart scan on the days following my collapse and was originally thought to have been the proximate cause of my ailment is now completely undetectable. I am told that medically, such a tear is irreversible except with surgery.
I thank God for His kindness and love and for His wonderful gift to me and will never forget this remarkable event in my life. Glory be to God!
Let him who needs a miracle, claim one – Dr Alan Chin, August 2009
On the morning of Monday, 20 of April 2009, I received a call from my brother–in-law John that my sister Suzanne had suffered a cardiac arrest and was warded in ICU in hospital in Hong Kong. This came at the worst time possible as I was going through a time of tribulation and crisis in my own life. My wife Josie had just been appointed as the President of AWARE and when she most needed my support, I had to be away!
My mother and I flew up that very afternoon to Hong Kong. We arrived that night and headed straight to Canossa Hospital where Suzanne was warded. We met John and my brother David who had flown in earlier. John recounted what had happened that morning.
As per her usual morning routine, after sending her kids to school, she went for her morning jog with her dog. However, after around ten minutes, she decided to turn back as she was feeling tired. She had a bath and went to bed. As John noticed that she looked unwell and was slow in her speech, he called for the ambulance. Within 10-15 minutes she was on her way to hospital, still conscious.
Unfortunately on arrival at 8:38am, she lapsed into unconsciousness with an unrecordable blood pressure. The doctors commenced resuscitation which lasted about 2 hours. ECG on admission showed narrow complex bradycardia. Intra venous adrenaline was administered and she developed a ventricular tachycardia. She was defibrillated which resulted in sinus rhythm. She was intubated and started on IV dopamine and adrenaline.
She was transferred to ICU after she had been stabilized.
MRI of Brain showed:
- Tiny T2W dark signal in Right cerebellar hemisphere, likely a nonspecific focus due to a tiny calcification or tiny focus of old No other intracranial abnormality.
- Trace fluid signal in posterior wall of NP.
ECG immediate post resuscitation on 20.4.2009 – SR, ST depression in praecordial leads
- Interstitial lung markings, right lung pleural fluid, slightly more confluent shadowing RUZ, but may have some pneumonic changes.
In ICU, she developed diabetes insipidus – marked urine output (serum osmolarity 325 urine osmolarity 129) responded to DDAVP.
When I saw Suzanne in ICU, she did not look good. She was on a ventilator; her pupils were 4mm fixed and dilated. Her limbs were flaccid. The respiratory physician advised that the prognosis was very poor with evidence of brain stem death and pituitary gland failure. The room temperature in ICU was kept low to slow down the metabolic processes.
I spent the night in hospital praying and interceding. I proclaimed Psalm118:17 over Suzanne that she shall not die but live to declare the works of the Lord.
An echocardiogram done the next morning on Tue, 21 April 2009 by the cardiologist, Dr. David Ho showed:
- Moderate Aortic Regurgitation with global left ventricular dysfunction and moderate to severe global hypokinesia.
- Cardiac valves showed no abnormal thickening.
- Tri-leaflet aortic valve
- LVES 4.89cm
- EF 19% by M mode
- LA 2.72cm
- LVED 5.35cm
Dr Ho suggested a diagnosis of acute aortic valve prolapse leading to cardiac arrest. That afternoon, her condition remained unchanged. The temperature in the ICU was now turned up in a not-too-subtle hint that the doctors had given up. The respiratory physician again advised that there was no improvement and confirmed that Suzanne had brain stem death (BSD). It is a term equated with death to describe a person on life-support system when faced with a decision whether or not to switch off the ventilator or to harvest organs for organ transplant. She advised John to consider switching off the ventilator as Suzanne was now dead and there was no hope of recovery. She added in medical history there were no cases of anybody recovering from BSD.
I contacted my friends in Singapore to pray for Suzanne.
We requested for a second opinion from a neurologist who examined her that afternoon.
Her pupils were fixed and dilated. Vestibulo-ocular reflex was negative. She had a negative gag and cough reflex. There was no pain reflex in response to deep pressure over sternum, fingers, and eyebrow. She was flaccid, a-reflexic and there was no plantar response. His diagnosis was also that of brain stem death.
That evening, Suzanne looked dead. She was cold and clammy; facial discoloration had set in, especially under her eyes. There was also a smell of death over her. That evening, her children, Kim and Ian saw her for the first time after her collapse. The whole family was distraught. Everyone was grieving for Suzanne.
Later that night, I called Josie to update her on Suzanne’s condition. She spoke to John and prayed with him. She received the word "resurrection" and told John that God is our Healer and that He would resurrect all her brain cells.
Even as I prayed that night, I asked Father God where was Suzanne ? He answered that she was with Him. I then asked whether she would be coming back. He said yes! I asked when but there was no answer. I then asked for a sign by Wednesday as I had scheduled to return to Singapore that afternoon. Comforted I went to sleep early that night.
Things started to turn around on Wednesday. Early that morning, the nurses noticed slight movement as they were sucking phlegm from her intubation tube. John excitedly called from hospital that early morning saying Suzanne had opened her eyes for the briefest moment several times!
We hurried down to the hospital. As we called her name there was response with twitching of her lips and movement of her eyebrows. She opened her eyes several times! We were all greatly encouraged.
Suzanne was then reassessed by the neurologist. When he called her name, there was no response. When he asked her to move her arm, again there was no response. However, when I called out her name, she opened her eyes. She also moved her fingers when I asked her to move her hand. Her pupils were still fixed and dilated with a negative doll’s eye reflex. There was grimacing of her face in response to deep pressure for pain over her fingers and sternum.
Strangely the neurologist still advised John that these signs were just autonomic responses. He also warned John not to raise false hopes of recovery as Suzanne had BSD!
At around noon, the respiratory physician noted there were further signs of recovery. Suzanne had started triggering the ventilator to breathe, about 5-10% of the breaths. By the time I left the hospital for the airport at about 1:30pm, she was initiating 100% of her breathing.
By that evening, there was movement of all her four limbs; with increasing episodes of eye movements. Her pupils were no longer fixed and dilated and she had regained her pupillary reflexes.
However she developed a fever. Her total white blood count was 34,500. Chest X-Ray showed lobar pneumonia, with bilateral infiltrates indicative of adult respiratory distress syndrome. Remarkably all these settled down within 24 hours.
On Thursday 23 April, while being reassessed by her neurologist, John asked Suzanne to nod her head if she understood him. She did so. He then asked her to nod her head twice as the doctor was skeptical. Again she did so.
By Friday 24 April, Suzanne was fully conscious and able to recognize all who visited her.
Echo of heart: Ejection Fraction had improved from 19% to 43%. (Her EF was back to normal by Monday 27 April).
Suzanne was ex-tubated on Saturday, 25 April. She was able to talk shortly after that. Neurological examination revealed full and total recovery with no neurological deficits.
I spoke to her that afternoon over the phone just before I testified in church of God’s power and amazing grace in bringing her back from the dead.
On Sunday 26 April morning, Suzanne was up and about and was able to shower herself. She even asked John to bring her facial wash and moisturizer.
She was discharged the following Tuesday.
As I shared her amazing testimony in Church Of Our Savior again, on Sunday 26 April morning, a reporter from ‘The Newpaper’ was also present. Intending to hear Pastor Derek's sermon, she had no choice but to sit through my sharing of this miracle. It was then reported on Monday 27 April The Newpaper’s Front page!
Up till today doctors are not able to ascertain what happened to Suzanne as all the tests have been negative. She is fully recovered and coming back to Singapore permanently this end June 2009 after spending 15 years in Hong Kong.
Suzanne remembers that while she was in coma, she dreamt that she was pinned down on the floor of an apartment she had earlier visited in Pandan Valley Singapore. She tried to get up but someone (she described it as an evil presence) prevented her from doing so.
She has been touched and changed by her experience and walking closer to God.
I hope that Suzanne’s miraculous resurrection will be a source of comfort, strength and encouragement of the reality of God’s amazing grace, mercy and goodness.
Revelation 19:10b states: For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Let him or her who needs a miracle from God, claim one.