National News

Boy, declared brain dead, recovers after parents agree to donate his organs

Posted May 6, 2018 7:14 p.m. EDT

— An Alabama boy is being called a miracle after he regained consciousness days after his parents signed the paperwork to donate his organs following severe brain trauma from a dune buggy accident.

For 13-year-old Trenton McKinley, playing with his remote control cars is one of the only things he can do following the accident.

“I think a lot more before doing stuff now,” he said.

McKinley is missing half of his skull.

“He was walking around with neither side in. They just put this piece back in,” his mother, Jennifer Reindl said of her son’s skull.

Reindl said she is just thankful her son is alive.

Two months ago, McKinley was at a friend’s house, sitting in a small utility trailer while being pulled by a dune buggy. The day of play soon turned terrifying.

“It flipped and I hit the concrete and the trailer landed on top of my head. After that, I don’t remember anything,” McKinley said.

McKinley was rushed to USA Medical Center with seven skull fractures.

“All I saw was a stretcher with his feet. They actually stapled that side shut so they could get him back breathing, but he was dead a total of 15 minutes,” Reindl said. “When he came back, they said he would never be normal again. They told me the oxidation problems would be so bad to his brain that he would be a vegetable even if he made it.”

For the next several days, McKinley was brain dead and barely breathing. Faced with a difficult decision, his parents signed the papers to donate his organs.

“Five kids needed organs that matched him and it was unfair to keep bringing him back, because it was just damaging his organs even more,” Reindl said.

A day before doctors were set to pull the plug, McKinley started coming back. He believes he was in heaven.

“I was walking down, it was more like an open field, walking straight. There’s no other explanation but God. There’s no other way that I could have come back, even the doctors said,” McKinley said.

Slowly, McKinley is making strides beyond what anyone expected, but it’s not without a struggle.

“He’s a miracle and he just amazes everybody. Every day, he just does more and more,” Reindl said.

McKinley has lost 50 pounds and deals with nerve pain and seizures daily. Despite all that, he still has a sense of humor.

“I said I could turn my head sideways and put salsa in there and eat chips and dip out of my head. No more washing dishes for me,” he joked. “She wouldn’t let me put nothing in it though. I really wanted to see if I could.”