Part 2: Burn survivor
In the instant after he called out to God from a coal chute in 1993, the seriously injured young man felt an unusual calm. He found the strength to climb 15 feet up a ladder where his screaming, scared co-workers were waiting to help.
“I was blind, I couldn’t see, but I could hear voices,” Spence remembers. “Within 20 minutes, an EMT was with me and began cutting off my clothes. Within 30 to 40 minutes I was flown to the UVA hospital in Charlottesville.”
Spence lost consciousness and was unresponsive for five days on life support. His 24-year-old wife, Diane Spence, was informed her husband had minimal chance of living – but needed surgery to survive even a few more days.
“There was so much bad news, but I never did think he was going to die,” says Diane. She prayed constantly, and so did Scott’s mother.
After a six-hour surgery, the doctor stepped out to tell his patient’s family, as Diane remembers: “I’ve never experienced anything like this. We’ve never seen a patient literally get stronger on the operating table … There definitely was some divine intervention.”
The couple would still endure 18 more surgeries, 176 hours on the operating table, three months in the hospital, and 18 months of physical therapy. Scott survived renal failure, sepsis, pneumonia, and of course, brutal pain from burn treatment and reconstructive surgeries.
Throughout the recovery, several miraculous moments left friends and family convinced of God’s presence – like the day a nurse confirmed, to Scott’s great disappointment, that he would not regain his sight.
“When he gets real quiet, I know he’s thinking,” Diane said. “What he was doing was saying a simple prayer for his vision.
“Scott’s eyes were stitched shut, and they had put a lot of this gooey medicine on them to help them heal,” Diane remembers. At that moment, a stitch broke loose and Scott wiped some of the medicine from his eyes.
“Diane, I can read the clock on the wall,” Scott said. “Come over here and let me look at you.”