Medical Miracle: Woman Back From Brink of Death

Family was planning mother's funeral when she awoke from "irreversible" coma.

ByABC News via logo
February 14, 2008, 11:30 AM

Feb. 14, 2008 — -- Last month Rae Kupferschmidt, a 65-year-old mother of two, suffered a brain hemorrhage so severe that doctors told her family there was nothing modern medicine could do to save her life.

"She had a huge bleed and was considered essentially brain-dead," said Dr. Brad Helms of United Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.

Her grieving family followed Kupferschmidt's last wishes and removed her from life support, finalized funeral arrangements and brought her home to die.

"We were saying our goodbyes, waiting for her to pass," said daughter Lisa Sturm.

Then suddenly, in the midst of their mourning, an unexpected miracle happened.

"We weren't home three hours, and my mom started to wake up," Sturm said.

At first Sturm, a surgical technician, thought it was a fleeting moment of consciousness before the end. Incredibly, as the hours passed, her mother became more and more lucid.

So they rushed Kupferschmidt back to the hospital, where two holes were drilled in her skull to drain the blood clot that had formed.

It seemed to make a difference. She got stronger every day and started work with a physical therapist, a first courageous step on her steady climb back to life.

Kupferschmidt returned home yesterday a walking, talking medical miracle her doctors simply can't explain.

"I've been here for ten years, and I've never seen anything quite like this," Helms said.

The Kupferschmidts, who are deeply religious, offer a divine explanation for why she was snatched back from death's door.

"We have been blessed and blessed and blessed," said Rae's husband, Alan Kupferschmidt. "You just can't believe what we have been going through."

Not many people can say they've gotten a second chance at life. Rae Kupferschmidt got one, and she's determined to use it well.

"God's got something for me to do," she said. "When I learn it, I'll unfold it and follow it."