Brothers Recover at Cook Children's After Surviving Lightning Strike
Mom Jessica Martinez Alvarado says, "I know it's a one-in-a-million chance, but you never know, you might be that one. It was two for me."
Story by Eline Wiggins. Video by Tom Riehm.
Brothers Isaac Martinez, 7, and Jaden Alvarado, 13, are recovering at Cook Children's Medical Center after they were playing outside their home Wednesday afternoon when the tree above them was struck by lightning.
The lightning ricocheted and struck Jaden and Isaac, causing them to lose consciousness and collapse.
“It looked like fireworks were coming down the tree,” their mother Jessica Martinez Alvarado said. “I saw the boys lying on the ground when the fireworks stopped. ... I thought I had lost my boys. It's the worst feeling ever. I would never wish that on anyone.”
Isaac and Jaden were immediately rushed to Cook Children’s Medical Center Emergency Department. Doctors say that Jaden was primarily impacted by the lightning and likely suffered a cardiac arrest. The lighting ricocheted from Jaden to Isaac.
By Thursday morning, the boys were transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, with their mother and family at their side as they rested and played video games.
Jessica said they were still processing what happened to them. The boys said they don't remember what had happened and they were feeling OK.
It wasn't raining when the boys were struck, Jessica said. She noticed the lightning was getting more intense and was about to tell the boys to go inside when the lightning struck the boys moments later.
“They're always outside playing. They love to play football or any kind of sports," she said. “Their favorite thing to do is play with their dog.”
Her advice to other parents: “Don't let their kids outside when it's thundering. I know it's a one-in-a-million chance, but you never know, you might be that one. It was two for me. Be very, very careful with your babies. Make sure you hug them and kiss them and hold them tight."
Taylor Louden, M.D., Medical Director, Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Cook Children’s Medical Center, said that parents should be cautious and keep their children indoors when there is a severe weather threat or thunder and lightning.
“The boys came in altered and confused," Louden said. "These boys are very lucky. We're glad everyone came out OK in this instance."
If someone is fatally struck by lightning, cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death. Dr. Louden said it is crucial for a lightning strike victim to receive CPR as soon as possible or use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). Witnesses should call 911 immediately.
“Fortunately, lightning strikes are very rare, but we do have to be aware [of storms], especially in Texas where storms can come out of nowhere quickly," Dr. Louden said. "Even if storms are in the distance, you're still at risk.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are less than one in a million and almost 90% of all lightning strike victims survive.
About Cook’s Children’s Health Care System
Cook Children’s Health Care System embraces an inspiring Promise – to improve the health of every child through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, we’re proud of our long and rich tradition of serving our community. Our not-for-profit organization encompasses nine companies – a medical center, two surgery centers, a physician network, home health services and a health plan. It also includes Child Study Center at Cook Children's, Cook Children's Health Services Inc., and Cook Children's Health Foundation. With more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care locations throughout Texas, families can access our top-ranked specialty programs and network of services to meet their unique needs. We’ve worked to improve the health of children from across our primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties for more than 100 years. Based on the exceptional care we provide, patients travel to Cook Children’s from around the country and the globe to receive life-saving pediatric care built on leading technology, extraordinary collaboration and the art of caring. For more information, visit cookchildrens.org.