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Man who was pronounced brain dead moves just minutes before organ removal

Claire Reid

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| Last updated 

Man who was pronounced brain dead moves just minutes before organ removal

The wife of a man who was declared ‘clinically deceased’ says he miraculously began showing signs of life just minutes before his organs were due to be harvested for donation. 

Ryan Marlow, 37, had spent a fortnight in hospital with listeria - a rare bacterial infection, before doctors ruled that he was brain dead. 

In a livestream on Facebook, his wife Megan says she was told her husband's condition had worsened due to a swelling on the brain, which led to a ‘neurological death’. 

Credit: Megan Marlow
Credit: Megan Marlow

As Marlow was a registered organ donor, medics told his wife they would keep his body on life support while arranging recipients for his organs. 

The family arranged to meet at the hospital on 30 August to say goodbye, but when she arrived Megan’s niece told her Marlow’s feet had twitched when a family played a video of his three children. 

During her livestream, she explained: “I’m crying, and I don’t want to have false hope. 

“This can happen when people are brain dead. They can have twitches.”

Nonetheless after talking to her niece, Megan told the medical team she wanted her husband’s brain function tested. 

Credit: Megan Marlow
Credit: Megan Marlow

She said: “Literally, our team was standing there waiting to take him. I tell the nurse, ‘stop everything right now. I want tests done to see if he’s brain dead. I need tests done now.’”

Megan says a CT scan showed that there was still blood flow to his brain, meaning he is a ‘deep coma’.

On her stream, Megan said: “I can’t make this up. I cannot make this up. 

“Long story short, I’ll tell you the story another day, he’s not brain dead, my friends. He’s not brain dead. 

“God’s kept him here. He’s supposed to be dead, he’s supposed to be at the funeral home right now according to these doctors.”

Credit: Megan Marlow
Credit: Megan Marlow

Since sharing her story on Facebook, Megan has been flooded with messages of support and well-wishes for her husband. 

Since this scan, Marlow, a pastor from North Carolina, has shown signs of an elevated heartbeat and continued to twitch, but is unresponsive and his condition is still precarious, according to his wife. 

According to the NHS, listeria is usually caught from eating food containing listeria bacteria - including cooked sliced meats and unpasteurised dairy products. 

Figures from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around 1,600 people contract listeria in the US each year and of those about 260 die.

Featured Image Credit: Megan Marlow/Facebook

Topics: US News, Health

Claire Reid
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