June 16, 2020 / Jill Foley Turner
“Dad feel my chest,” Luke Slaughter said to his father, Mark. Something was wrong. Only a few hours later, Mark would make a promise to God that changed his life and would eventually empower a new kind of generosity among the medical community he worked with.
Mark remembers the exact date (September 15, 2011) and how long it took to get his 11-year-old son from the football field to the emergency room (10 minutes). But the most alarming number he remembers from that day is 245. That was Luke’s pulse when they got there.
Mark worked with doctors every day, even in operating rooms, but he was not prepared for this. He sat in the emergency room waiting for three hours while they tried everything they could to get Luke’s heart to beat normally. He sat helpless as doctors decided to “flatline” his son. “It was a long eight seconds,” Mark says.
But Luke’s heart rate eventually came back down.
You can look in a medical textbook and see that every person’s heart has two nodes that balance the electrical system that keeps the heart beating. But if you had been able to see inside Luke’s heart that day, you would have seen that Luke had three. His heart was confused.
After heart surgery and ablation at the hospital a week later, Luke was fine. In fact, he’s so healthy and physically fit now, at 19, they call him “Tarzan.”
But during that time in the hospital, Mark didn’t know his son would be fine. Mark worked in medical device sales, and he says he wasn’t sure if he was engaging in committed prayer or cutting deals with God. “You could call it either one,” he, says.
“I had spent my life in the pursuit of money. Nearly everything changed that day.” He made a promise to God: “If you will give my son back, I will serve you.”