Sight of New Son Returns Dad to Life

Sight of his newborn son brings John Seville back to life.

ByABC News
July 9, 2008, 12:58 PM

July 9, 2008— -- While the newest drugs and surgical procedures keep people alive, an extraordinary will to live can be the most powerful medicine.

John Seville, a 41-year-old New Jersey police officer, was working in his garden three months ago when his legs felt cold and his vision became severely impaired.

Upon arrival at Morristown Memorial Hospital, John went into cardiac arrest. He "flat lined" -- his heart stopped beating.

"Once I found out I did die, it was extremely terrifying," Seville said. "It wasn't just scary. It was terrifying."

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Seville entered emergency surgery and doctors injected him with various medications in an attempt to get his heart beating again.

"At that particular point in time, he's dead," said Dr. James Slater, one of Seville's doctors. "The question is: Is he going to remain dead? He's fallen off the cliff. We reach, we grab and we pull him back."

But after doctors passed the first hurdle to revive his heart beat, they discovered another emergency: a deadly tear in his aorta, the major blood vessel in the body.

A 5½-hour operation repaired Seville's aorta. But many of his organs were failing, including his brain. A CT scan revealed areas of his brain with extensive damage. Three days after the surgery, Seville entered a minimally conscious state, paralyzed on his left side and showing few signs of progress.

Connie Seville, John's wife, who was 40 weeks pregnant with their second child, stood by John's side throughout his surgeries.

"He was on a ventilator. And I was afraid he would never be off of it," she said.

As she willed for her husband's recovery, Connie went into labor and gave birth to Levi Seville, a baby boy, just two floors below her dying husband.

Within hours of Levi's birth, Connie thought this baby might hold the key to her healing her husband.

"The nursery brought the baby down with Connie and held him up to John's face," said Vicky Dunn, John's nurse at the hospital. "And John just cracked the biggest smile on his face. The unit got quiet, and then you just heard people crying. It was a beautiful sight."