DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — At Covenant United Methodist Church’s first Wednesday, the night started out with worship, and after the music was done, James Barnes, a member of Covenant for over 30 years, took the stage to share his story.
In 2014, after undergoing an X-ray, Barnes found out he had cancer and three tumors in his heart.
“They sent me to a heart specialist, and he spent about ten minutes with me, and he looked at me, and he said it’s inoperable and sent me to an oncologist,” Barnes said. “Well, the oncologist looked at us, and he talked. He finally said I’ve never heard of cancer in the heart. He turned around and googled it in front of us on the internet, and 15 cases came up. Now, it’s rare, but it’s out there.”
On April 13, Barnes phoned his wife, Laura, and asked her to return home to take him to the emergency room at Flowers Hospital.
“My heart was out of rhythm; it was beating 190 beats a minute,” he said. “They put an I.V. in me and tried to slow it down with drugs, and that didn’t do any good, so they got the paddles out, and they hit me with 150 volts. My son told me it picked me up off the table. I remember that one, but it didn’t touch it so then they hit me 200 volts.”
Just after 9:30 a.m., Barnes flatlined and was pronounced dead by three doctors at Flowers Hospital, and for three hours, he laid in a hospital bed, clinically dead, until a Covenant church member arrived to say “Goodbye”. She touched Barnes, and he woke up.
However, doctors still didn’t expect him to survive, giving him just 24 hours.
“The third day, he comes in my room, and he says ‘don’t ask me, I don’t know, this is a God thing, and we don’t have any control,'” Barnes said.
Four years later, and Barnes is still sharing his story with anyone who will listen, believing that God called him back to shed hope to those who need it.
Encouraging people to live every moment like it’s their last, to cherish the time you have with loved ones, and sharing the blessing of what God did for him, that’s why James Barnes is what’s good in the neighborhood this week.