- Payton and KeganSuicide-attempt survivor Payton Singh and little brother Kegan
- Payton Singh in PICUSuicide-attempt survivor Payton Singh in PICU at Cook Children's Medical Center in June 2018
- Payton Singh in PICU at Cook Children'sSuicide-attempt survivor Payton Singh suddenly awakes in PICU at Cook Children's Medical Center in June 2018
- Payton Singh with her parents, Brandy and Nick LumbertPayton Singh with her parents, Brandy and Nick Lumbert
- Payton Singh in rehab unit at Cook Children'sPayton Singh in rehab unit at Cook Children's after 2018 suicide attempt
Emotional Reunion: Suicide-Attempt Survivor Returns to Cook Children’s to Thank Medical Team
Teen Survivor and Family Share Their Story in Honor of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Listen to Episode 22 of the Raising Joy podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. The podcast is part of the JOY Campaign, which launched in April 2021 as a suicide prevention communication initiative, and aims to reach parents through honest conversations about the mental wellbeing of children and teens.
In June 2018, Payton Singh arrived via ambulance to Cook Children’s Emergency Department in a barrage of flashing lights and sirens. She was just 12 years old and decided to end her short life while her parents were away from home.
Payton and her family returned to Cook Children’s this week to reunite with her medical care team who saved her on her darkest day.
“I can’t even explain the emotion and the panic that sets in as a parent,” said Brandy Lumbert, Payton’s mother. “After getting the call, I remember running into the emergency room - they knew exactly who I was. And then she flat-lined right in front of me. As a parent, you want to jump in and tell the doctors and nurses to move faster, but you’re just standing there, helpless.”
Payton and the Lumberts also shared their story on the latest episode of our Raising Joy podcast.
Payton’s brother, Kegan, found her unconscious in her room and took action well beyond his years. Though he was just 8 years old, he had the wherewithal to call 911, put the family’s dogs outside and notify his parents that help was on the way.
When officers arrived at the Lumbert’s home in Keller, Texas, they believed Payton had been without oxygen for 12 minutes.
“Doctors told us, ‘She’s alive but she’s not showing any brain activity,” said Nick Lumbert, Payton’s stepfather.
The medical team was able to stabilize Payton and moved her to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).
“Every day in the ICU, we’d stare at the breathing machine to see how many breaths she was taking on her own,” said Nick. “It was very hard to go through that.”
Soon after being admitted to the hospital, Payton’s neurologist pulled the Lumberts aside to show them the scans of her brain. They revealed four small spots, an encouraging sign that the damage wasn’t as dire as it could have been. Still, it was unknown if she’d ever walk or talk again.
On day five in the PICU, something unexpected happened.
“I remember walking through the doors and we hear all of the alarms going off and we take off running to her room,” said Brandy. “She had stood up next to the bed and was ripping everything off. She looked right at us and I was flabbergasted!”
And just like that, hope began to shine on the Lumbert family.
Soon after, Payton was transferred to Cook Children’s rehabilitation unit where she embarked on the long road to recovery. Over the next six months, she underwent treatment at three different hospitals across Texas.
Now, four years later, she is returning to Cook Children’s to say ‘thank you’ to the people who saved her life.
On Thursday, September 1, 2022, Payton and her family were reunited with the doctors, nurses, and care team members who cared for her at Cook Children’s. This emotional reunion was requested by Payton, who is now a 17-year-old high school senior. She has a job, drives a car and is planning to pursue a career as a veterinarian.
The Lumberts recently shared their story on the Raising Joy podcast in hopes of encouraging other families who may find themselves in a similar situation.
When asked what message she has for kids and teens who are struggling with their mental health, Payton said “Get help.”
Their episode is now available on all major podcast platforms including Apple, Google and Spotify.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
Here are some signs to be aware of – though not every suicide attempt will display signs. This is why it’s important to talk to children and teens about suicide, whether you suspect they are suicidal or not.
- Preoccupied with death (writing, drawings)
- Talking about feelings of hopelessness
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Telling loved ones goodbye
- Decline in performance
- Giving prized possessions away
- Isolating and withdrawing
- Acting highly anxious or agitated
- Acting reckless and taking risks
- Changes in sleeping and/or eating
- Use of alcohol/drugs
- Dramatic changes in personality and/or appearance
If you feel your child needs help, please click here to find a Cook Children's Behavioral Health location near you. You can also address your concerns with your child’s pediatrician, psychologist or therapist.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
Raising Joy is part of Cook Children’s Health Care System’s Joy Campaign, a communications initiative aimed at preventing youth suicides. For more information about the Joy Campaign, visit cookchildrens.org/joy.
About Cook Children's
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 is comprised of nine companies, including our Medical Center, Physician Network, Home Health company, Northeast Hospital, Pediatric Surgery Center, Health Plan, Health Services Inc., Child Study Center and 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 the unique needs of their child. For 100 years, we’ve worked to improve the health of children from across our primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties. We combine the art of caring with leading technology and extraordinary collaboration to provide exceptional care for every child. This has earned Cook Children’s a strong, far-reaching reputation with patients traveling from around the country and the globe to receive life-saving pediatric care. For more information, visit cookchildrens.org.