BOSTON (CBS) - "It was not in our wildest imagination that something like this would happen," said Darryl Settles, standing outside Tufts Medical Center, where his 15-year-old son Preston is fighting for his life. He and his wife, Lisa Owens had gone to see him play in a basketball game Saturday. He went to the bench to catch his breath. "And all of a sudden, my husband said, 'Preston's down,'" said his mother.
He had collapsed, and his arms were flailing. "His eyes were just flaring up, and so I did this to him," said his father waving his hand in front of his eyes. "There was absolutely no response, and then he just stopped breathing." He had gone into cardiac arrest.
It happened at the Brooks School in North Andover, where Preston is a freshman. People there jumped into action with CPR until the emergency crew arrived. He was rushed to Lawrence General Hospital on an automatic CPR machine and breathing tube for an hour. His mother, who is a doctor herself, said she will always remember when the doctor came into their room to say Preston still had no heartbeat.
"You could just tell by her demeanor, they brought in the psychologist, they were basically telling us that it was starting to look like the beginning of the end," she said. "Then I say, this is impossible. It can't be possible. The attendant came in and said his heartbeat is back! We're going to MedFlight him out of here."
That's when he landed at Tufts Medical Center. "His oxygen saturation was 25%, and we rarely see a patient survive an oxygen percent of below 50," said Dr. Haval Chweich, who was on duty that night in the ICU.
In an unusual move, doctors put Preston on a machine that keeps his heart and lungs functioning. They say his progress in the last week is miraculous, but they also say he has a long road ahead.
"There are certain predisposing factors which they had no idea about, which we think we have a better idea about, that we're going to be investigating, about structural problems with the heart," said Dr. Carey Kimmelstiel, a cardiologist who's been treating him.
Preston's parents say signs of love like the drawings and messages hanging all over his hospital room, and visits from friends, do something even a medical miracle cannot. "We definitely think it's getting to him, lifting him up, and pushing him forward," said Owens. "So if there are people out there who can pray and fight for Preston, we need all of it."
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