Lawyer back from the dead, and more….

Suzanne Chin and John Alabaster (ST pic)

The Straits Times on Sunday published an inspiring story of how a lawyer who was brain dead woke up. The Hong Kong medical specialists advised the husband to pull the plug. But something …or Someone held him in check….and God did a miracle through the prayer of His people. This is apt for Good Friday and Easter when Christians remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Lawyer Suzanne Chin is convinced that what happened to her four years ago is nothing short of a miracle. The mother of two was living and working in Hong Kong when she suffered a heart attack, was hospitalised in a coma and declared brain dead. The head of the intensive care unit, two neurologists and a cardiologist told her husband to prepare for the worst. Soon, he was advised to take her off life support because, simply put, there was no hope. Then, three days after she was admitted, she woke up from her coma. She recovered within a week and left the hospital. Today, she is living in Singapore, still working as a lawyer, still a wife and mum. She is well, and she is alive. Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon recalled her remarkable story in a speech earlier this month on euthanasia and assisted dying. When The Sunday Times contacted Ms Chin for her story, she agreed only to answer questions via e-mail. Her husband, private investor John Alabaster, described what he went through too and said one thing was clear to him throughout their ordeal: “I did not talk to my children about switching off the life support simply because it was not an option for me.” But first, this is what happened to them in April 2009. April 20 started out as just another morning in their household. The usual scramble to get the children off to school before Ms Chin took off on her usual morning hike with her dog. But a few minutes after leaving home, she returned. She was in no pain but felt something was amiss. It was after she showered that she felt something was wrong and alerted her husband. “The last thing I remember was expressly forbidding him from calling an ambulance,” she said. She was taken unconscious to hospital and sent to the ICU. She had no history of heart problems, but had suffered a cardiac arrest. It was a huge shock for her husband. One day, everything had been normal for the couple, both in their 40s, and their children then aged 12, and seven. The next day, she was in a coma and it looked very bad. The specialists told Mr Alabaster she had suffered brain stem death and he had to prepare himself for “letting her go”. “In their opinion – and they were very firm – there was absolutely no chance of any sort of recovery,” he recalled. The next day, a doctor asked him if he had thought about it because his wife was neurologically lifeless, a valve in her heart had been severely damaged and there was no point keeping her alive. Things looked “worse than bleak” but he refused to say yes to switching off his wife’s life support, even though the doctor had been well intentioned. “But his demeanour when I told him of my decision to reject his opinion was one of patronising incredulity coupled with an unsaid ‘oh, you’ll come around’,” he said. On the third day, she revived. Ms Chin opened her eyes to see her husband bending over her, then she realised they were not at home, and noticed the wires and tubes stuck all over her body. “I realised that I was in a hospital and with tears in his eyes, my husband said that everything was going to be all right,” she said. “Within a very few hours, I was able to grasp a marker pen and I was able slowly to converse with the people around me.” What remains vivid is what she described as a recurring vision during the lost days when she was in a coma. She said: “I saw myself lying on a bed unable to move or speak. A man appeared by my side. He did not seem overtly threatening in any way but something in me sensed that he was not good. “He told me that if I wanted to move or speak, all I would have to do was to follow him. I demanded that he leave me alone, but he would not go away. Over and over again I repeated this. I also prayed without ceasing. “After a while, the man faded away. This vision repeated several times, but on what turned out to be the last occasion, the man started to get angry. He threatened to ‘take’ my daughter if I refused to ‘follow’ him. Again, I was resolute and unyielding, telling him he had no power over me as I was a child of God. “It was at that moment that I woke from my coma to see my husband John standing by my bed.” People she has related this to have asked if it might have been a dream. She said: “What is amazing is that this happened at a time when medically, I had been pronounced as being brain dead.” Ms Chin’s recovery from first opening her eyes to sitting up with her feet over the side of the bed took just 36 hours. “Not one doctor who treated me while in hospital or subsequently any specialist that I have seen since, either in Hong Kong or later in Singapore, has been able to account for the speed of my recovery or that I was able to come back from that hopeless position at all,” she said. “There is no doubt that I had suffered massive brain damage resulting in brain stem death. If one looks at the situation rationally and logically, there is no explanation for what happened. I truly believe that this was a miracle from God and that I have been blessed with a second chance.” Ms Chin and her husband said that while both are Christians, neither was committed or active in church at the time. It was her brother, Dr Alan Chin, a Singapore doctor and a fervent Christian, who flew to Hong Kong, prayed with Mr Alabaster when she appeared the worst and believed that she would pull through. Dr Chin told The Sunday Times he was shocked to find his sister diagnosed with brain stem death. “My medical training told me there was no hope, but my faith in God said that there was hope in Jesus Christ,” he said. Mr Alabaster recalled mounting pressure from the medical staff treating his wife to “put Suzanne – and ourselves – out of our misery by switching off machines that were keeping her alive.” Even when she made an occasional twitch, they quashed his hopes by insisting that it was purely a reflex. Their talk always returned to “saying goodbye” and “letting go”. “I, on the other hand, hopefully and prayerfully saw in these very slight movements a base from which to see further progress,” he said. They made him wonder if his brother-in-law could be right, that she would be healed. What was also distressing was that as news of Ms Chin’s sudden illness spread, many of her friends from Hong Kong and elsewhere began arriving at her bedside, and Mr Alabaster knew that from talking to the medical staff, they too expected the worst. What was hardest for him though, was talking to his daughter and son about their mother. “I had told them that Mum was sick and in the infirmary – that was understandable to them as they had both been born at the same hospital,” he said. He tried to put up a cheerful front and hoped to slowly break the news that they might lose their mother. But soon friends and family were arriving and he had to tell them she was seriously ill. But he never told them about switching off the life support. “It wasn’t that it was a choice I did not want to face, it was just not something I could or would ever sanction. The point was not that the person on that bed connected to all those austere machines was my wife. “It was more fundamental than that… If that machine were to be turned off, all hope would vanish and I only had God and hope to rely on.” Then, as suddenly as she had taken ill, Ms Chin made a recovery that astounded the doctors and nurses. “But their confusion and bafflement was juxtaposed with the amazement, relief and total ecstasy that my children and I were feeling as, by God’s grace, we had got our Suzanne back. “Ten days after the attack she was as good as new. The tear in her heart valve that was so obvious on several ECGs and the ensuing poor heart performance was totally healed. This restoration, I am told, cannot happen without open heart surgery as heart valves do not repair by themselves. “Suzanne’s brain activity was totally back to normal and from that day to this has never had even the slightest relapse.” In the days that followed her recovery, Ms Chin learnt about all that had happened and how her doctors were convinced there was no hope and it would be best to let her die, but her brother was so sure she would live. She said: “It pains me to think about what my husband, my children, my family and friends went through. It was a tremendously difficult time for all of them. Yet when faced with such a difficult decision, they chose to fight for me. Without their faith, I would not be here today, able to recount this story.”  (vijayan@sph.com.sg)

And if you are interested in another story of a member from our deaf congregation who also came back from the dead, read I VISITED HEAVEN for more.

What are we to do with advanced medical directives now?

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10 Comments »

 
  • Pilgrim says:

    What can I say but…”YESSS!!!”,”PRAISE THE LORD!!!”,”AMEN!!!”:)I am going ballistic with joy and praises!

  • Ben says:

    Yeah I think this is an awesome testimony for Christ too. Secular media will always play down the role of Jesus in the couple’s turnaround, but we know better…

    Besides, this is one documented case where materialists have to answer this question: How did a certified brain-dead person have so-called “dreams” and conscious awareness?

    Logically, either the person was NOT brain-dead (but was nevertheless certified as such), or conscious awareness is not confined to mere brain activity and the “dream” wasn’t really a dream. Either has serious implications.

    • journeyman says:

      “……If that machine were to be turned off, all hope would vanish and I only had God and hope to rely on.”

      This would sum up the feelings of those (like me) struggling to make sense of the material world in which we exist and the ethereal world to which we profess.

      Did the certifying physicians make a mistake? For more details read…
      link to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

      Medical science and technology has enabled augmented extension of life beyond the normal biological and clinical processes. Without such technical augmentation, the Brain would be the last organ to die in a non brain damaged (mechanical trauma, stroke or infection) clinical syndrome – the brain will shut down the body progressively until the brain itself is unable to sustain itself – the lack of oxygen and nutrients will damage it irreversibly. The advent of mechanical kidneys, heart, lungs, biosensors and parental fluid technologies have rolled back the boundaries, making crude “estimates” of death unacceptable to modern society. Imagine this would be complicate further with cellular therapies and bio-chimeric organ replacements.

      Organ harvesting and limited intensive life support capabilities and increasing healthcare cost would create more pressures to free up resources asap whilst new “bio/techno-medical advances” would increase societal expectations of eternal life and even the banishment of “death.” Whoever has to make the “final” decision has to play “God,” are human ready for this part?

      Will such “progress” lead us to God or from Him?

      U may be interested in reading experiences of a neurosurgeon……

      “It is totally different,” he insisted. “Those who believed in heaven when they read the book were not happy. They didn’t like the title. They say, ‘This is not scientific proof.’ ”
      In fact, he said, “Proof of Heaven” was not his idea for a title. He preferred “An N of One,” a reference to medical trials in which there is only a single patient.

      Read more at
      link to nytimes.com

      President Obama’s recent research grant to fund mapping of the human brain and mind would be timely – expect more “miracles” and anguish as not all animals are created equal.

  • Nhlanhla says:

    Wow! Praise the Name of the Lord! Who says miracles were only for the olden days, this is Supernatural! This should be published world wide, we should know that man is limited but GOd not, I take my hat off the husband to have allowed the lady to finish the battle field and then be let off! I am humbled to see our Lord Jesus Christ showing off this way to the wisdom of the world! He is worthy of our praises forever!

  • Nina says:

    What an incredible story! Just goes to show that nothing is impossible for Christ who reigns over all. He took away all our sin, sicknesses and shame on the cross and today, God’s grace we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Glory to God in the highest! Love you Jesus xox

  • YIM YEW FOCK says:

    I am encouraged to read these encouraging news, please pray for my elder sister Yim Fong Mei – she had suffered from schizophrenia for many years. The IMH medicine could barely help her and she still had her paranoia hallucinations. Our whole family are christians, her husband and son are not christians. Her husband blame my parents and said that if we allow him to bring her to receive spiritual delivery from his gods, she would long ago have been healed. In Singapore, as every one knows the government is very paranoid over religious issues and as good citizens we have to understand the government “headache”. Of course we do not quarrel with my brother-in-law over this matter, my dad just courteously and firmly tell him – NO. We pray for her for many years, pastors also pray for her but to no avail. Next is my younger sister’s husband Bruce Tan. He and my younger sister are christians also. He had suffered from cancer from half a decade. All the hospital’s cancer treatment and prayers from us could barely heal him. It is really a pathetic sight to look at him, he is reduced to “skin and bones”. Many times I complained to the LORD and quarelled with HIM- why HE does not heal my elder sister and brother-in-law? My elder sister Fong Mei, my younger sister husband – Bruce are really discouraged from getting help from GOD as I can sense. Over the years, I suspect the notion of reincarnation and karma could be true afterall. I did much literature research on reincarnation and karma as these 2 non-christian teachings are comfort to my soul as I see my these 2 dear relatives suffering terribly. As I did literature research on karma and eincarnation, I realised these 2 “eastern” teachings do not contradict the christian doctrine of salvation. I came to the conclusion that people enterr into the elected salvation of grace in the last rebirth on planet earth. It is interesting that in the bible, there are a few accounts of hints on reincarnation. The Jews in JESUS time said that JESUS and John the Baptist were the reincarnation of one of the dead prophets of times past! When St Paul said it is appointed man once to die and after that the judgement. I believe Paul meant as matter of fact of life per se of the current life. Research reveal that the notion of reincarnation was quite a accepted belief by the Jews in JESUS time and much earlier. The pain of seeing my 2 dear ones suffer without relieve from GOD’s decree (GOD could easily heal them if HE choose!) cause me to embrace the belief of reincarnation and karma in addition to my christian doctrinal beliefs shared by the main christian denominations of anglicans, methodists, pentecostals.

    • YIM YEW FOCK says:

      Kindly advise and kindly pray for us that GOD be glorified through the sickness of my elder sister Fong Mei and younger sister husband Bruce Tan. Please don’t condemn me in a hurry on my belief on reincarnation and karma, do the research first before throw the ‘FIRST STONE” at me. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan and the story of the repentant thief who was crucified along with JESUS. Neither the good Samaritan nor that thief know much or know correctly on a lot of christian doctrines. Thank you very much.

      • YIM YEW FOCK says:

        For decades as a born-again christian, this is the first time I had a frightening and powerful encounter in the spiritual realm. This morning, an inner power within me just purge out my beliefs in reincarnation and karma. This is encouaging news for christians. I bear in mind not to create any problem for the goverment over sensitive religious issues. What I said here about GOD purged out my belief in karma and reincarnation is meant for christians to hear. We of course don’t go around criticising any other people’s beliefs. Everyman is entitle to his own beliefs and we maintain socio-religio peace in a multi-religious society. I take this discussion here as a christian only -group discussion. Spiritual matters is beyond reasoning not simply about convicitions/passions/sentiments, I had live enough years to tell spiritual powers are real. Just this morning, this is the first time I sensed an awesome power in me and overr me purging my belief of reincarnation and karma out of my beliefs. I didn’t simply believe karma and reincarnation just yesterday, but, I believe in these 2 things after at least half a decade of research. Of course we christians must bear in mind not to create problem for the government by criticising other religions. Every man is entitle to his own beliefs and in a multi-religious society, we mainatain religious harmony. What I experienced is what I experiened, I am not condemning any other people’s religion. Every man is entitle to his own beliefs and we bear in mind to mainatain religious harmony. I know I wouldn’t have experience such phenomenon unless some christians had prayed for me. I thanked fellow christians who had prayed for me and continue to pray for me. T thank the government and all fellow men of all other religions for their gracious understanding in not finding fault with what I say here, what I say in this article is solely directed at fellow christians. Thanks to all.

    • Non-Pentecostal says:

      @ Yim Yew Fock

      There is a common misconception among Christians, esp the Pentecostals/Charismatics, that God’s laws in the Old Testament or Moses Law, are made ineffective by the arrival of salvation by Grace thru faith in Jesus Christ.

      Jesus stated that He did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill the Law. The Law was fulfilled when law-abiding Jews also believed in Jesus for their salvation, ie born-again by WATER and the SPIRIT.
      …….The water symbolized the cleansing action of the Law(ie curb the inborn tendency for evil-hearted humans to commit sins/evil-deeds).
      ….The Spirit symbolized the blood of Jesus on the Cross. LEV.17:11 implies that the Spirit/Life of God is in the blood of Jesus bc the life of an animal is in its blood. An animal dies or has no life when it loses all its blood or when the flow of its blood stops and its blood begins to decay.

      Hence, the laws/Word of God in the OT still apply to Christians and Jews. Some exemptions from Moses Law were given to the Gentile Christians, so as not to over-burden their former lawless Gentile lives.(ACTS.15:29)
      ….Eg Gentile Christian adults do not hv to be circumcised bc circumcision would incapacitate them for about a month. They would be in hell-on-earth if they involuntarily had an erection.
      ….But babies of Gentile Christians should be circumcised bc it is a symbol of the Abrahamic covenant and it reduces sexual lust.

      Under Moses Law, unintentional sins/evil-deeds could be atoned(pardoned) by the blood of animal sacrifice, ie the sinner/evil-doer did not hv to suffer for the unintentional sin.
      ….Intentional sins/evil-deeds could not be atoned, ie the sinner/law-breaker had to suffer the requisite punishment/curse, according to the law of ni4ni, eg Jewish thieves had to pay fines(4X) and murderers or adulterers had to undergo execution.

      The Jewish robber who was crucified next to Jesus, believed in Jesus as the Christ/Messiah and Jesus rewarded him with Paradise/heaven. But, under Roman law, he was still crucified for robbery. Under Moses Law, robbers were not executed. In this case, Jesus did not pardon his sin or evil-deed of robbery, ie let him escape the death penalty.

      According to many Pentecostals/Charismatics, Jesus/God will atone/pardon/heal every suffering unrepentant thief, robber, adulterer, fornicator, murderer, sinner, law-breaker, evil-doer, etc, even though they had intentionally sinned or broken the law.(cf: HEB.10:26-31, 1COR.5:1-5)
      ….If this were so, the Christian God will be the laughing-stock of the whole religious world bc He does not punish unrepentant Christian sinners/law-breakers, ie He pardons all of them from suffering punishments. The Christian God would be like an evil father who spoils and pampers his rotten children.
      ….Imagine a world where unrepentant Christian murderers, rapists, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, robbers, etc are not punished/cursed just bc they believe in Jesus. It’s as if Jesus had given Christians a license to sin/do-evil.

      We know that in ancient monarchies, Kings or Emperors had the power to pardon any convicted criminal. But such pardons were given as exceptions to the rule, ie rarely or uncommon.
      ….Similarly, God/Jesus, the King of Kings, had pardoned suffering unrepentant Jewish criminals, sinners, law-breakers, evil-doers, etc by healing/delivering them during the ministry of Jesus about 2,000 years ago. They were told to repent of their intentional sins and go and sin no more.(JOHN.8)
      ….Such healings/deliverances by God/Jesus are not for all times or happen every day, every week, every month, every year,…. Those were exceptional times.

      A contributory factor to the existence of so many suffering Jewish sinners/law-breakers/evil-doers was bc the land of Israel was under Roman law and not Moses Law. Under Roman law, adultery, incest, homosexuality, etc were not against the law. Many Jews at that time broke Moses Law and suffered for it.

      Bear in mind that repentant Christians who had committed unintentional sins/evil-deeds can be atoned/pardoned thru the blood of Jesus, ie they won’t be punished bc Jesus suffered the punishment for them.
      But, if they commit that same sin again, it would become an intentional sin and the blood of Jesus will be of no avail.

      Like for the Jews, Christians should also be law-abiding or live their lives guided by Moses Law. This will result in a good, peaceful, contented and long life on earth.(DEUT.28)
      ….Christians should not live lawlessly, ignorantly commit intentional sins/law-breakings/evil-deeds, get cursed/punished by God or His agents and then desperately seek healing/deliverance everywhere. Prevention is better than cure. Ignorance of the Law is no excuse.
      ….Healings/deliverances from God/Jesus for curses/punishments caused by intentional sins are rare. At the same time, God may allow Satan to duplicate healings/deliverances, in order to further his deception and demonic doctrines.

      Schizophrenia(=split personality) may be a demonic affliction for breaking Moses Law at DEUT.18:9-14, eg by consulting with bomohs/mediums(=prophets of Satan) to put charms/spells/hexes on others.
      ….Recognizing the sin, repentance and seeking forgiveness thru the blood of Jesus by the sinner/evil-doer may be a right step towards healing/deliverance.

      Cancer may be the result of Christians buying optional insurance, esp life and health insurance. Buying insurance is a sin, similar to gambling and buying lottery.
      ….God and His laws are the best “insurance” in the world and it’s free. Fearing God and obeying His laws will result in a good and long life on earth, in general. There is no need for Christians to buy any optional insurance.
      ….Sincere and law-abiding Christians who buy optional insurance to compensate for the future possibility of medical calamities or shortened lives are practically saying that God is a liar and His Word/laws are untrue. They are saying that God may curse/punish them, even though they fear Him and abide by His laws/Word. They may hv misinterpreted the story of Job, which many Christians wrongly believe that God was testing Job’s faith by allowing Satan to afflict him.

      There are exceptions to every rule/law. There are rare times when Christians hv been commanded by Jesus/God to submit to persecution and/or martyrdom for their faith = calamities and shortened lives. The Apostles underwent this.
      ….A time is coming soon when Christians will be persecuted and hv to die of starvation for not receiving the Mark-of-the-Beast. Shortly thereafter, the Lord Jesus will return to exact terrible vengeance on the persecutors and unbelievers.(ROM.12:19-20)

      Peace.

  • journeyman says:

    @NPC
    Perhaps it would be beneficial to read the relevant verses for our selves, discern and reflect ……..

    6 One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

    Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

    8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

    9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

    12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

    Unless my english comprehension is utter hopeless, it was God allowing Satan to “interact” with Job. My simplistic takeaway is that when God withdraws His Grace from even the “most transformed sinful man,” the best he can do is HOPE and pray for deliverance from the “dark attacks (devil or self inflicted).”

    My ownsense you seem to be a “religious” doomday’s prepper who seem to have forgotten the gifts and blessings of NOW and TODAY whilst being concerned with a cataclysmic future which may no happen during the lifetime gift. Understand the Bible has asked us not to speculate as nobody knows when and how except “The Father.”- we were also warned that everyday has their own challenges and we sud as believers triumph over these through His Grace and our own feeble initiatives – just that most of us forget about the 90% from God but magnify our own 10%. The Ego is a powerful amplifier.

 

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