Mother acts on hunch, saves son’s life

Tuesday, August 26th 2008, 7:44 pm
By: News 9

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

A Lexington Elementary School teacher's life saving skills weren't used in a classroom, but at home.

Jhett Skaggs looks, and acts like a typical 19-month-old boy. He's into everything and loves to play with his mom and 4-year-old sister, Merrit. But, looks can be deceiving.

"It's a miracle," Audra Skaggs, Jhett's mom, said. "I really believe I've seen God's work first-hand, right before my eyes."

When Jhett was born, he seemed to be a healthy baby. Yet as he got bigger he would cry every time he ate.

"They thought it was a food allergy, so that's what we were treating him for, for six months," Skaggs said.

It was Nov. 1, 2007 when Skaggs discovered 10-month-old Jhett wasn't breathing.

"I had always heard when you do CPR, you think, ‘How in the world am I ever going to remember all that stuff,' but I was doing a lot of talking with God at the time and I just had an overwhelming sense of peace come over me," Skaggs said.

Jhett was rushed to Children's Hospital where it was discovered he had a rare heart muscle disease. Over and over, his heart would stop.

"This was ongoing constantly," Skaggs said. "They had to use the paddles to bring him back, and I remember falling to my knees and just begging God, ‘Please, let him be okay'."

Jhett's only option was a heart transplant. He got one in Houston at the end of November.

"The testimony he will have one day when he's older one day is just overwhelming to me," Skaggs said.

Skaggs's sister nominated her as a heart hero. Karrie Ferguson said her sister is a strong woman.

"The fact that she remained as calm as she did that day, and throughout the entire experience, just blows me away," Ferguson said. "She never ever lost her cool."

Jhett now takes anti-rejection medication, but for the most part, he lives as a normal little boy.

"He's very ornery, which they tell me is boys," Skaggs said. "He runs he doesn't walk; he feels so good, it's just amazing what a new heart can do for you."

Jhett is a little boy with a second chance at life thanks to his mom who knew how to save him when seconds counted.

Jhett's old heart is now being used for research to learn more about the heart disease he had.