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Teen returns to hospital to thank each person who saved his life when he was stabbed at homecoming

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    ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) — A teenager who was close to dying met the team that saved his life for the first time Wednesday.

15-year-old Jonathan Mitchell was stabbed multiple times at Waterloo High School’s homecoming in August.

His most serious injury was a wound to the aorta, the body’s main artery.

Thankfully, the paramedics who responded made a critical decision when the ambulance got to the Waterloo, Illinois helipad.

“As soon as we pulled up, we were told it would be a 12 minute flight time,” said paramedic Nick Hoeff. “We made the decision not to fly, but drive him straight to Mercy South.”

Hoeff said Mitchell was minutes from death, and they believed the only way he would survive is if they made the 21-mile drive to the trauma center at Mercy Hospital South, near the intersection of Interstate 270 and Tesson Ferry.

“In my opinion, if EMS waited those 12 to 15 minutes for him to come here, this would’ve been a much different outcome,” said trauma surgeon Brad Ross. “He didn’t have the time to wait because he was bleeding to death.”

Five minutes after arriving, the teenager was in the operating room. Five months later, he thanked each and every person who saved his life.

“Without them I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “Everyone made the right decision and it kept me alive.”

While the high school sophomore is still dealing with some injuries, he’ll be okay.

“I’m not going to let this define me and I will live my life the way it was before,” he said.

A big step in that direction starts Thursday, which is Mitchell’s first day back at school since the stabbing.

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