Boy Declared Brain Dead Shocks Doctors by Coming Back to Life after Parents Sign Organ Donation Papers
13-year-old Trenton McKinley has a sense of adventure and loves to crack jokes. Pretty unsurprising interests for a boy his age, right?
But the Mobile, Alabama teen is now being called a medical miracle after recovering from being seemingly brain dead following a dune buggy accident. And what’s even crazier is that he woke up the day before his family made the difficult decision to cease life support and donate his organs.
Two months ago, Trenton was at a friend’s house playing when they went out to ride a children’s dune buggy.
Trenton was in a small utility trailer with his friend’s four-year-old niece, and they were being pulled by the buggy, Fox10 reported. Suddenly, his friend pulled the breaks and the trailer flipped. Trenton only had time to throw the four-year-old onto grass before he hit the concrete pavement and the trailer flipped on his head.
Rushed to USA Medical Center for emergency surgery, Trenton was clinically dead for 15 minutes before medical personal revived him and performed emergency surgery. He was then transferred to UAB Hospital in Birmingham with seven skull fractures and a dim prognosis. “When he came back, they said he would never be normal again […], that he would be a vegetable if he even made it,” mom Jennifer Reindl told Fox10.
Five kids needed organs that matched him. It was unfair to keep bringing him back, because it was just damaging his organs even more.
— Jennifer Reindl
Heartbroken, and with no hope for their boy’s recovery, Trenton’s family made the difficult decision of ceasing life support and offering up his organs for donation to help save the lives of five children. But in true Grey’s Anatomy style, the day before Trenton was scheduled to go off life support, he started showing signs of brain activity. The signs grew stronger and Trenton woke up, convinced he’d been in heaven, while he was brain dead.
I was in an open field, walking straight. There’s no other explanation but God. There’s no other way. Even doctors said it.
— Trenton McKinley
A true miracle
Even though he’s lost 50 pounds and deals with daily seizures and nerve pain, the young fighter is making strides every day. He’ll still need surgery, as half of his skull is frozen at the hospital, waiting for the right time for surgeons to reconnect it and the family is raising money to help cover medical expenses.
Meanwhile, Trenton, his spirit unshakeable, is finding the humor in the situation. “I said I could turn sideways and put salsa in there and eat chips and dip out of my head. No more washing dishes for me. I really wanted to see if I could,” Trenton jokes with his mom, who obviously said no.