The three major national media networks reported the story but with a decidedly different publicity spin - focusing on the AP photos of Dale's distraught friends praying for him on the beach, the term “miracle” was repeated over and over by the news anchors. The overtly clear implication: the boy was alive through the result of "divine intervention" – it was a Miracle.
It was estimated that Dale Ostrander was under water for as long as 20 minutes. However there have been recorded incidents of people being revived after being submerged in freezing water for a much as an hour. The Pacific is cold, about 56º F in this area of the coast.
Dr. Mark Morocco, an emergency room doctor at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles: “Your chances of surviving are better if you’re young… when people are plunged into cold water. The heart rate slows down and blood is diverted to the brain and other core organs. This so-called diving reflex is more pronounced in children, allowing them to better survive in frigid water.”Dale was received CPR from rescuers immediately upon being pulled from the water. Emergency Medical Technicians then on the scene continued to ventilate him until he arrived at the local hospital. There he was placed on a respirator until he was taken by Life Flight to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, part of the Oregon Health Sciences University Medical Center.
“Swift treatment helped." Morocco credited the rescuers for continuing resuscitation efforts even though Ostrander had no pulse and appeared dead.
The doctors at Doernbecher were unsure if Dale would continue to be able to breathe on his own. Having been on a breathing tube myself, I know there is only one definitive way to find out if a patient can breathe for them self – remove the breathing tube. Fortunately young Dale began breathing on his own.
Weeks later when Dale was released from the hospital the story was updated by the national media. Though Dale will continue to need physical therapy to full recover, the Media continued promoting the “miracle” story, repeating how Dale’s fellow church members knelt on the beach praying for him during his moment of peril.
I pose this question about claims of divine miracles: what most likely was the significant factor that saved young Dale Ostrander from death ...