Thursday, May 3, 2007
7 News Features: The Power of Prayer
You have heard it a million times: "I'm praying for you." It happens millions of time a day, but seldom do you see the results immediately. Don't believe it? Then let's listen to 7's Patrick Fraser, as he tells us about an incident in Stuart, Fla. that shows the power of prayer.
WSVN -- For as long a Joni can remember, she has had a dream.
Joni Kinsley: "It's been my prayer since I was very, very young: to adopt a child."
Eleven months ago, Keegan came from Russia and Joni's dream had came true.
Joni Kinsley: "Out of the millions of kids in the world that could have landed in my lap that I truly ended up with the one child who was meant to be mine."
Joni could not have been happier, but, little did she know, as she walked into a restaurant in Stuart, the greatest days of her life would become the worst day of her life.
Joni Kinsley: "We were having a very enjoyable Sunday lunch."
They were having lunch at Toojays in Martin County with her friend Mitzy when Keegan grabbed a grape.
Joni Kinsley: "I knew immediately he was choking. As soon as he got my attention from some squirming, he looked at me and it was..."
Mitzy dialed 911 as Joni and two customers went to work.
Joni Kinsley: "I grabbed him and started to do the Heimlich, as I was yelling in the restaurant for help."
But the grape was lodged in the 3-year-old's throat.
Fortunately, less than a minute later, officer Phil Lagalo came in and took over.
Stuart Police OfficerPhil Lagalo, Jr.: "You could tell he was scared, he was frantic, and then he just went limp and started turning blue. I thought he had died in my arms."
Lagalo could not dislodge the grape -- three minutes later, fire rescue arrived to a packed restaurant.
Joni Kinsley: "I remember almost, this sounds strange, but almost peace in the restaurant. It wasn't chaos."
Quiet because everyone was praying.
Mitzy Taylor: "And a table directly in front of me, of women, were sitting holding hands at a circular table praying, and I looked around and a lot of tables were doing that."
Even the waitresses had lined up around Keegan.
Mitzy Taylor: "Praying, crying, holding hands."
But Keegan's jaws had clenched -- fire rescue tried everything in their power, but they could not dislodge the grape. Nine minutes passed by as they worked...
Lt. Vincent Filicione: "His skin color deteriorated in that nine minutes and started showing signs he was not doing...and I assumed at that point he was not going to make it."
Keegan's skin had now turned dark blue, but the crowd in the restaurant didn't notice -- they had their heads bowed.
Lt. Vincent Filicione: "I realized the people at that table were chanting the Lord's prayer. It was kind of a weird feeling, you get goosebumps talking about it."
It never dawned on Joni that her son was dying. She was too busy praying and encouraging Keegan.
Joni Kinsley: "I remember chanting, 'Come on, Keegan. Come on, Keegan. Come on, Keegan."
By that time a total of 13 minutes had passed since Keegan had swallowed the grape.
At Martin Memorial Hospital they were waiting for his transport, but doctors know that's a long time to go without breathing.
Dr. David Melzer: "Patients cannot survive lack of oxygen for more than five minutes, at the most."
Finally, 13 minutes after he started choking, minutes after he should have been declared dead, the grape popped out, and Keegan took a breath.
Stacey Licari: "And he cried, and everybody stood up and applauded -- even the paramedic had tears in his eyes. It was just the most moving thing I could ever explain."
Moving, yes, because Joni says medically, it should not have happened.
Joni Kinsley: "I can't imagine how you can walk away and have a rational explanation for this."
Paramedics don't have one...
Lt. Vincent Filicione: "Me, personally, I kind of just understand that some things are unexplained, especially in this line of work."
But Joni says it's actually easy to understand.
Joni Kinsley: "Oh, I absolutely know, in my heart, it was a miracle."
And the Palm Beach Diocese agrees it was a miracle but not for the reason you might expect.
Father Brian King: "God's will in that situation was the child should live, but the prayer, the miracle that took place was that so many people cared at the same time."
Patrick Fraser: "If you believe in God, you probably believe it was a miracle. If you don't believe, you probably don't -- but don't try to convince Joni."
Joni Kinsley: "He's 100 percent fine -- 100 percent fine."
Keegan is perfectly fine because, she says, of the power of prayer.
Joni Kinsley: "It's a powerful, powerful experience, and I don't know anybody who experienced it with me who can walk away and be the same."
Well, actually, one person did walk away the same as before. Fortunately, it was Keegan.