A New Movie Is Telling The Story Of A Latino Teen Who Drowned And Died For An Hour But Came Back To Life
Back in 2015, John Smith, then 14, fell into a frozen lake in St. Charles, Missouri. Smith was playing with two friends out on a lake when they fell through the ice into freezing cold water below. While his two friends were saved, Smith went under the surface where he remained for 15 minutes. After first responders tried to revive him for nearly 45 minutes, they were ultimately unsuccessful. Then a miracle happened. Smith’s heart started beating again and he would walk out of the hospital 16 days later. Now, his story is being told in a new film, “Breakthrough,” which will share his rescue from near-death to miracle.
John Smith made national news when he fell through some ice and was pronounced dead for an hour before coming back to life.
As paramedics tried to save him, they transported him to a nearby hospital where CPR was performed but there was no response. Doctors believed there was nothing that could be done to save Smith and told his mother, Joyce, she could come see him.
When Joyce arrived, she began to pray over his body. She “walked up to the end of the bed and felt his feet, how cold and gray they were,” Joyce told PEOPLE magazine.
“I remembered in church all my life hearing this scripture that says, ‘The Holy Spirit will raise Christ Jesus from the dead,” Joyce recalls. “The minute I prayed ‘Holy Spirit, please come and give me back my son!’ his heartbeat started.”
Smith beat the odds despite being told he wouldn’t make it through the night.
What happened next is considered a medical miracle. John came back to life and eventually made a full recovery. Doctors say Smith had extensive brain damage and organ damage that would have normally killed a person. His religious family credits their faith and prayer as the reason behind the miracle.
Despite all this, there was still a small chance Smith would live. Doctors told his family there was a one percent chance Smith would make it through the night and still would face the unfortunate circumstance of being in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. Miraculously, Smith walked out of the hospital 16 days later.
Yet Smith isn’t the first to come back after being declared dead. According to the BBC, a 91-year-old woman in Poland woke up in a morgue 11 hours after doctors declared her dead. In Mississippi, a 78-year-old man who had been declared dead was found alive and kicking in a funeral home body bag, reported The Guardian.
Doctors call these cases the Lazarus syndrome, which happens when circulation spontaneously comes back to the body long after CPR has ended. There have been at least 38 cases of the incident occurring since first reported in medical literature in 1982.
His miraculous story has inspired more than just a movie but others to believe in medical miracles themselves.
Smith, who is now 18, is living proof of miracles. He was adopted as a child from Guatemala by Joyce and Brian Smith. While John has no recollection of the incident ever happening and didn’t suffer any permanent physical damage, he says before the incident he had an entirely different mindset on life.
“I had a lot of issues,” Smith told PEOPLE magazine. “I was chasing after what I wanted instead of what God had for me.”
Smith has since toured around the country to speak to young people about his story and has plans to attend a Christian college in Minnesota this fall. Now, his story is being re-told in the new film “Breakthrough.”
“I had to deal with answering the question of ‘Why me?’” Smith said. “After time and a lot of prayer and mentoring, I eventually saw that God is the only way to get through something like this.”
“Breakthrough” opens April 17.