Miner’s Wife Hopes Prayers and Metallica Will Help Him Pull Through
Anna McCloy, left, wife of Randal McCloy Jr., at news session at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh with Gayle Connelly Manchin, wife of West Virginia governor.
That, along with plenty of prayers and the knowledge that his wife and two children love him and need him, will help him pull through, Mrs. McCloy said at a news conference. Occasionally smiling and laughing, she added that she found strength in faith and had no doubt that he would recover.
“It’s amazing, it’s a miracle,” she said of his survival. “Faith plays a big role. Without it, we wouldn’t be coping. It’s given us hope.”
Mr. McCloy, 26, of Simpson, survived more than 40 hours in the Sago disaster that killed 12 fellow miners with carbon monoxide intoxication, the medical examiner said.
As families began planning funerals for some co-workers, Mr. McCloy remained in critical condition and had two treatments of hyperbaric oxygen. Doctors hope that will help his brain recover from the effects of a lack of oxygen. Dr. Richard Shannon, chairman of medicine at Allegheny General Hospital, said Mr. McCloy’s heart and kidney function and muscle injuries had improved. But he continued to have serious inflammation of the left lung, and doctors will not know the extent of brain damage until he is out of the coma.
Dr. Shannon said that the lungs began to fill with dust and gases in the mine and that Mr. McCloy had lost his ability to cough or sneeze as he lay on his side awaiting rescue.
“It now appears pretty clear that the cause of all of this is inflammation in the airways of his lungs,” Dr. Shannon said.
Dr. Shannon called the lung inflammation the biggest immediate concern, and Mr. McCloy continued breathing with a ventilator.
On Thursday, doctors said brain scans showed tiny hemorrhages that doctors said were not cause for great concern, but that evidence of injury to white matter could potentially be more serious. Even that damage, which could lead to problems with strength and possibly vision, is unclear. Doctors are unable to determine the extent of brain injury because Mr. McCloy cannot be observed responding to stimuli. Mr. McCloy was moved here for the hyperbaric therapy, in which patients breathe 100 percent oxygen in a chamber with two to three times normal atmospheric pressure. The purpose is to help oxygen penetrate tissues it cannot normally reach.
“He’s always told me that no matter what, he knew he was in a dangerous job, and if something happened, he said, he would survive because he had two kids and a wife that he loved and he would take care of,” Mrs. McCloy said. She looked forward to his returning home, playing with his children, hunting with a bow and arrow, fishing and camping with his family.
She said she had no doubt that his faith had helped sustain him in the mine, and she hoped that his mining days were over. A week ago, she said, her husband, a certified electrician, had talked about leaving mining for good. “He knew it was dangerous,” she said. “He didn’t care for it very much. He wanted to do something else.”
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