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Age 13 'Brain Dead' Son Wakes 1 Day After Mother Signs Papers to Donate Organs

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You’re called to the hospital with a chilling message: your child is in critical condition. Last you knew, your 13-year-old son was doing what a typically teenager would do, playing with friends and having a good time.

When you walk into the hospital and see your child motionless, and doctors tell you he has already died, it’s difficult to believe. How can that really be your son?

That’s exactly what Jennifer Reindl experienced two months ago, but she had no idea what a roller coaster ride she’d be on.

“All I saw was a stretcher with his feet hanging out. He was dead a total of 15 minutes,” Reindl said.

“When he came back, they said he would never be normal again. They told me the oxidation problems would be so bad to his brain, that he would be a vegetable if he even made it.”

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Her son, Trenton McKinley, had been riding in a trailer attached to a dune buggy, along with his friend’s 4-year-old niece. When his friend suddenly slammed on the brakes, the trailer flipped.

Trenton managed to throw the 4-year-old to a safe patch of grass nearby, but he hit the cement and the trailer fell on top of his head.

After Reindl was told that her son was essentially already dead, they waited a few days and then made the decision to donate his organs to others who needed them.

“They said the next time his heart stopped they had to let him die,” Reindl posted on Facebook, “or I could sign a paper to donate his organs to save five other kids….and they would keep hitting him with adrenaline till monday….so I signed it.”

“His eyes were solid black and dry and I knew he would not hesitate to save 5 more lives.”

But it was shortly after they had made the decision to donate and signed all the paperwork that Trenton McKinley shocked everyone.

“The next day I got a call,” his mother continued, “they canceled the final brain wave test….right before they hooked him up his hand moved then his feet…so they looked at his eyes and they were back.”

“He had blue eyes….now they are green with small white specks like glitter…they say when you look upon god…pigment changes…and my baby was in heaven for a whole day….he is a miracle.”

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While Trenton has made a miraculous recovery, he is still dealing with a lot of pain, seizures, and multiple surgeries. It will take time for him to get back to normal.

While it’s difficult for some to understand exactly what happened during those days when he was lifeless in the hospital, he explains it as other-worldly.

“I was in an open field walking straight,” he explained. “There’s no other explanation but God. There’s no other way. Even doctors said it.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking