Theodore's World: Man Declared Dead Feels 'Pretty Good'

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March 25, 2008

Man Declared Dead Feels 'Pretty Good'

Man Declared Dead Feels 'Pretty Good'



Four months after he was declared brain dead and doctors were about to remove his organs for transplant, Zach Dunlap says he feels "pretty good."

Dunlap was pronounced dead Nov. 19 at United Regional Healthcare System in Wichita Falls, Texas, after he was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident. His family approved having his organs harvested.

As family members were paying their last respects, he moved his foot and hand. He reacted to a pocketknife scraped across his foot and to pressure applied under a fingernail. After 48 days in the hospital, he was allowed to return home, where he continues to work on his recovery.

On Monday, he and his family were in New York, appearing on NBC's "Today."

"I feel pretty good. but it's just hard ... just ain't got the patience," Dunlap told NBC.

Dunlap, 21, of Frederick, said he has no recollection of the crash.

"I remember a little bit that was about an hour before the accident happened. But then about six hours before that, I remember," he said.

Dunlap said one thing he does remember is hearing the doctors pronounce him dead.

"I'm glad I couldn't get up and do what I wanted to do," he said.

Asked if he would have wanted to get up and shake them and say he's alive, Dunlap responded: "Probably would have been a broken window that went out."

His father, Doug, said he saw the results of the brain scan.

"There was no activity at all, no blood flow at all."
Zach's mother, Pam, said that when she discovered he was still alive, "That was the most miraculous feeling."
"We had gone, like I said, from the lowest possible emotion that a parent could feel to the top of the mountains again," she said.

She said her son is doing "amazingly well," but still has problems with his memory as his brain heals from the traumatic injury.

"It may take a year or more ... before he completely recovers," she said. "But that's OK. It doesn't matter how long it takes. We're just all so thankful and blessed that we have him here."

Dunlap now has the pocketknife that was scraped across his foot, causing the first reaction.

"Just makes me thankful, makes me thankful that they didn't give up," he said. "Only the good die young, so I didn't go."

Wild Thing's comment..........

“Only the good die young, so I didn’t go.”

He’s still got his sense of humor. A good sign, I’d say. He’s already recovered enough to be brighter than most liberals. LOL

Posted by Wild Thing at March 25, 2008 02:40 AM


I hear of stories like this and others of folks who were "dead" but were not and it makes me think of Terri Schievo and how she may have pulled through.

Posted by: BobF at March 25, 2008 07:31 AM

I read this story on another news webpage. I understand what anquish his family went through, trying to decide what to do. My own cousin Doug was hit head on by a drunk driver back in 1998 on his brother Matt's wedding night. He lingered like Zach until his birthday, December 3, when they finally had to pull the plug and harvest his organs.
God spared Zach for a reason--he has to accomplish something in this life he has not yet. He is very blessed.

Posted by: Lynn at March 25, 2008 09:09 AM

So sorry about your cousin Lynn, it is always a tragedy.
What a wonderful event, these are the great human event stories that make your heart soar.
As I have learned over the years never give up. Lessons learned, my first, Danang, 1968, after his missing roll call, I hauled one of my fellow soldiers, cot and all, in the back of a deuce and a half over to the U.S. Mortuary team, everyone from the commander on down thought he was dead, he had all the signs, it was severe alcohol poisoning fro some local rotgut, a corpsman there discovered a faint trace of life and we rushed him to the 312th. Evac and he survived. Another man down, a cold water drowning in Alaska, we worked on him for 45 minutes until the troopers arrived and took over resuscitation, some 20 minutes later an ambulance arrived and hauled him 35 miles to the ER, he lives. Sadly you can't win them all, we lost one in bitter cold where all we first responders suffered frosbite, a massive heart attack victim, there was no doubt he was gone as he had been down awhile before discovered and lividity had set in, after 30 minutes of compressions and mouth to mouth in whiteout conditions the medics finally got to the scene where we let them take over and it was they who made the pronouncement,never quit until rigor sets in, even then, second guess the symptoms.

Posted by: Jack at March 25, 2008 03:30 PM

Bob Yes I thought of that too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 25, 2008 06:52 PM

Lynn oh wow I am so sorry about what happened to Doug. How horrible Lynn, something like that for a family to go through too is so very hard.
I agree God made this possible for Zach to live and he can be a real blessing to others because of this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 25, 2008 06:55 PM

Jack I agree so much, thanks for sharing about your experiences with this happening.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 25, 2008 07:00 PM