Real Name: Don Hamilton
Case: Medical Mysteries
Date: November 8, 1987
Location: Wadena, Minnesota
Details: Before dawn on November 8, 1987, Don Hamilton and a group of his friends went out deer hunting in a wooded area about 175 miles north of Maple Plain, Minnesota. He went up into a tree and lay down on a branch. However, his gun slipped from his grasp, hit off the ground, and fired. Unfortunately, his friends did not know where he was, so it took them twenty-five minutes to find him. The bullet from his rifle had severed crucial veins in his leg.
Twenty minutes later, Don was rushed to a nearby hospital. Although he was technically alive, he had no blood pressure. He was also comatose and had lost 60% of his own blood. Doctors worked hard to save his life. They attempted to resuscitate him, operated on the veins in his leg, and gave him as much blood as possible. The local hospital's attempts to save him were unsuccessful, so he was flown to the North Memorial Medical Center in Minneapolis, 200 miles away. His brain showed no signs of life; all tests showed that he was brain-dead.
When Don's parents were told the news, they couldn't accept it. They prayed for him and had their church members do so too. However, his condition continued to worsen. His body began to fail; his kidneys and lungs stopped functioning. He also went under cardiac arrest. Nevertheless, his parents continued praying and even talked to him as if he were awake. They also refused to have his life support machines shut off.
Five weeks after the accident, Don's mother, Marilyn, and his friend, Karen Speeder, came in to visit him. When Marilyn said that Karen was there, he nodded. They asked him several other questions and each time he nodded in response. He came out of his coma, but doctors feared that he would never fully recover. However, he proved them wrong. After being released from the hospital, he was able to walk on crutches. Six months after the accident, he started walking without them. On June 10, 1989, he married Donna Johnson. They has two daughters, Emily and Melissa.
Doctors have no idea how Don survived without any serious problems. His family believes his recuperation was due to God's intervention.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 15, 1989 episode.
- Once supposedly dead, man now getting married
- A Christmas miracle; Part 1: The accident that changed it all