Lorna Baillie was declared dead after she suffered a massive heart attack, but astonished doctors and her grieving family when she suddenly came back to life. Relatives of Baillie were devastated when a team of doctors withdrew treatment after spending three hours trying to revive her.
The family gathered around her hospital bed to say their goodbyes after doctors told them the 49-year-old grandmother was ‘technically dead’, being kept artificially alive only by a combination of adrenaline, electric shocks and CPR.
It was then, 45 minutes later, that Mrs Baillie’s disabled husband John, 58, whispered ‘I love you’ to his wife. As John, his son and three daughters sat beside Mrs Baillie, they were surprised to see her colour gradually improve. A nurse present in the room assured them this was a normal side effect of prolonged emergency treatment.
And when Mrs Baillie’s eyelids flickered and she appeared to squeeze her eldest daughter Leanne’s hand, the nurse again assured the family that ‘involuntary movements’ were to be expected. Unconvinced, the family demanded the nurse call in a doctor, who found a pulse and rushed Mrs Baillie to intensive care.
Daughter Leanne Porteous, 31, said: ‘I asked the nurse if it was normal that she squeezed my hand and that she had opened her eyes and she said it was. We are so close as a family and we are not the kind of people to just give up. We were telling my mum to be strong. I kept saying to her, “Come back, Mum, come back”. At one point my dad said, “Lorna come back, I love you,” and then –just like that – she was there again.’
Two weeks later, the former auxiliary nurse from Prestonpans, East Lothian, has even managed some ‘high-fives’ after sitting up in bed and communicating with her family. Mrs Baillie, a keen gardener and dog walker, collapsed at her home at 4.30pm on February 10. Paramedics battled to resuscitate her before taking her to Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary where, at 8.45pm, a doctor told the family she had died.
Leanne said: ‘His words were that she was technically dead, but they had to wait until she had stopped breathing before they could pronounce her medically dead.’
Mrs Baillie’s miraculous signs of recovery followed, but medics warned that her chances of survival remained slim because her kidneys had failed and she was in a coma.
The family were still so worried that her daughter Charlene, 23, asked the hospital chaplain to obtain a special licence to allow her to get married by her mother’s bedside. But Mrs Baillie’s condition continued to improve and last week she was moved from intensive care to a medical ward. An MRI scan recently revealed no obvious brain damage.