Every child is, to me, a miracle. The media are a tougher crowd though, so it takes something extraordinary that defies the odds to get their attention.

A few cases come to mind right now, an older one because of two newer ones. Two years I did a story for the National Catholic Register on a little 15-month old boy found floating face down in the backyard pool. By the time he reached the hospital emergency room, doctors estimated it had been about 30 minutes since he had “drowned.” He was in full arrest, no heartbeat, no respiration, the hospital ER Director told me. “He was as cold as ice water, blue and all mottled,” she recalled. “There were no signs of life.”

The ER team would not give up on that baby.

“After 35 minutes, 40 minutes, and a downtime that was unknown, he was out for a long time. But nobody gave up at all. In my mind and my heart, I was praying as we worked. I could tell others were, too.”

At about the 45 minute mark, Michael’s heartbeat and rhythm faintly showed up on the monitor. The team continued the chesk compression and the medicine to make his heart beat faster. It responded. “Everybody was saying ‘Oh, my God!’,” recalls [the ER director]. “Everybody was calling for the doctor and when he came running in, he said ‘I don’t know…I’ve been doing this for a long time. There’s somebody watching out for him.”

Little Paul Eicke got a glimpse of that while he was declared clinically dead, after a similar ‘drowning.’

A boy of three claims he saw his great grandmother in heaven while he was clinically dead after falling into a pond.

Paul Eicke came back to life more than three hours after his heart stopped beating. It is believed he was in the pond at his grandparents’ house for several minutes before his grandfather saw him and pulled him out. His father gave him heart massage and mouth-to-mouth during the ten minutes it took a helicopter to arrive.

Paramedics then took over and Paul was taken the ten-minute journey to hospital. Doctors tried to resuscitate him for hours. They had just given up when, three hours and 18 minutes after he was brought in, Paul’s heart started beating independently. Professor Lothar Schweigerer, director of the Helios Clinic where Paul was taken, said: ‘I have never experienced anything like it.’

Some things still do defy science.

The boy said that while unconscious he saw his great grandmother Emmi, who had turned him back from a gate and urged him to go back to his parents.

Paul said: ‘There was a lot of light and I was floating. I came to a gate and I saw Grandma Emmi on the other side.

‘She said to me, “What are you doing here Paul? You must go back to mummy and daddy. I will wait for you here.”

‘I knew I was in heaven. But grandma said I had to come home. She said that I should go back very quickly.

‘Heaven looked nice. But I am glad I am back with mummy and daddy now.’

Ruben van Assouw, alas, is not. But the young boy who was the sole survivor of a recent plane crash is another “miracle,” as even the hard core media claim.

The story of the boy’s improbable survival and tragic loss has moved people around the world

It is another opportunity for wonder at the endurance of life.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....