'Miracle man' revived after electrocution, had been dead for 20 minutes

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News
Michael Pruitt hugs Dr. Angel Chudler.

Michael Pruitt wasn't expecting on the first day of his new job to get the shock of a lifetime.

Now doctors are hailing him as a "miracle man" after he was electrocuted, died for 20 minutes and lived to tell the story.

"I always told my mom as a joke that I could never die," said Pruitt, a 20-year-old from Taylor. "Now I feel I am meant to do something great in life."

On April 30, Pruitt was hanging siding at a home in Livonia. He was moving a metal ladder to another side of the house when he came close enough to a power line that electricity jumped to the ladder, shocking him with electricity.

"It felt like forever," Pruitt said.

Turns out, it was only about four seconds, said Pruitt's stepfather, Keith Jacokes, 41. Jacokes had just come down from the roof, turned the corner and saw the whole thing.

"It shocked me," said Jacokes (no pun intended). "I've never seen anybody get electrocuted."

Pruitt said his arms locked up, causing him and the ladder to fall against the house.

The homeowner, a nurse, heard it, too. She rushed outside, and she and Jacokes took turns giving Pruitt CPR.

Doctors later told Pruitt the CPR was an important move.

"Had there been loss of oxygen to the brain, I would have been brain dead or a vegetable," said Pruitt.

Within minutes, emergency responders arrived, continued CPR and shocked Pruitt's heart with a defibrillator as they transported him to Beaumont Hospital in Farmington Hills, a Level 2 emergency and trauma center.

“They brought in this perfect young man who had no vital signs," Dr. Angel Chudler said. "I said to my team, ‘We’re bringing him back.’ And then, I said to him, ‘You better come back!’” 

Beaumont doctors continued to shock Pruitt's heart with a defibrillator. Two minutes later, it started to beat again.

“When he became conscious again, he was like the Hulk, grabbing the railings and shaking the bed with huge strength. It took the entire care team to hold Michael,” Beaumont clinical nurse Yasmeen Bachir said. “I guess every superhero has to die at least once.”

Pruitt said he was in the  hospital for five days before he woke up and found out what happened.

He is now soul searching about what to do with his life. He is thinking about becoming an FBI agent or an emergency responder so that he can return the favor to others in need of help, and save lives

"Most people don’t get second chances like this," Pruitt said. "I gotta do something with my life. It could have so easily turned out the other way."