Boy stable after lightning strikes nearby 'Power of prayer' at work in son, 11, says father

August 12, 1998|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

As Philip Knode's father credited God's "perfect timing" with saving his son's life after he was nearly struck by lightning Monday, the man who administered CPR to the boy said he too believed "somebody else is in charge."

Philip, 11, was in critical but stable condition at University of Maryland Medical Center yesterday, a day after he was shocked by lightning, though not directly struck, during a storm that passed over Annapolis.

Alice Ackerman, director of pediatric critical care medicine and the pediatric intensive care unit, said the extent of the boy's injuries was not known but that he will likely recover from damage to his brain, lungs and heart. He was partially comatose but able to respond at times to his parents.

"I believe very much in prayer," said Philip's father, William Knode. "The power of prayer is working in my son. That's why he's at the status he is now. That's why that guy was riding his bike. It was God's perfect timing."

"That guy" is Ken Taylor, 51, a marina maintenance worker who rushed to Philip after seeing what looked like three bolts of lightning strike near the boy as he fished off a parking lot at Naval Station Annapolis. The lightning struck about 4: 30 p.m., minutes before a second afternoon downpour.

Taylor, who learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation more than 30 years ago while serving in the Royal New Zealand Navy, said he immediately began the procedure when he could find no pulse and no sign that Philip was breathing.

"I was screaming at him, 'Come on, kid, come back,' " Taylor said yesterday at a news conference near the spot where Philip was thrown by the impact of the lightning.

He told a passer-by who had a cell phone to call 911 and recruited another marina employee to help with the CPR, teaching the man on the spot, he said.

He administered CPR for about 15 minutes before Naval Academy and Annapolis rescue crews arrived and took over.

Taylor, a father of two adult daughters and grandfather of two who has lived in the United States for about seven years, said he reacted automatically.

"Lightning doesn't strike very often," he said. "What are the odds of me being there when it does? Somebody else is in charge."

Philip would likely have died had he not received immediate CPR, Ackerman said.

William Knode, 37, a senior chief petty officer stationed in Annapolis since January, said he had not met Taylor but thanked him at a news conference at the hospital.

He described Philip as a boy who often fished at the marina since the family, which includes three other boys ages 17, 8 and 6, moved to the naval station from Virginia Beach.

Philip had returned home during a first rainstorm that afternoon, but when the rain stopped he asked his mother, Lisa, if he could go back outside.

His mother went looking for him when she heard thunder, but when she arrived at the marina, ambulances and rescue crews were already there, Knode said.

Pub Date: 8/12/98

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