Doctors amazed that Snohomish girl survived knife attack

Doctors amazed that Snohomish girl survived knife attack »Play Video
April Lutz
EVERETT, Wash. - A fraction of inch made the difference between life and death for a 14-year-old girl who was stabbed in an unprovoked, random attack at Snohomish High School earlier this week, doctors now say.

Surgeons who went above and beyond to save the Snohomish teen-ager say she sustained at least 10 separate stab wounds. One of them - near her heart - came close to being fatal.

But quick work by a couple of classmates, extraordinary efforts by doctors at Providence Regional Medical Center - and her own will to survive - helped that girl pull through.

Even the surgeons who raced to save April Lutz's life are amazed at the odds she survived.

"Her heart had stopped in the field, and they were able to resuscitate her," says Dr. Joseph Austin of Providence Regional Medical Center.

In fact, April's heart stopped a total of three times following a brutal attack in a Snohomish High School bathroom.

Investigators say a 15-year-old girl randomly attacked April and her friend Becka Staudacher with kitchen knives brought from home.

April was stabbed more than 10 times, but a wound to her heart nearly took her life.

"If the injury had been four millimeters to the right ... she would have died there, because the heart would have fibrilated ... and she just never would have survived," Austin says.

Doctors say April's chest had filled with blood - and she had only a 20 percent chance of surviving when she was wheeled into the emergency room.

The 14-year-old's mother says she can't thank doctors enough.

"It's just my miracle baby," Sue Lutz says.

Doctors were able to stop the bleeding - and April is now in satisfactory condition. But she remains in the critical care unit.

Her friend Becka was treated and released.

Family members issued a statement thanking classmates who came to their rescue, saying:

"April is very fortunate for the actions of two ... schoolmates. Bekah Staudacher stepped in and did her best to stop such a brutal and horrific act.

"April would also like to send a special thank you to Benjamin King, the young man who held her in the bathroom until the paramedics arrived."

April's mother says: "She's just so blessed with everybody behind her, and that's all I've got to say. I'm at a loss for words. I'm just so lucky she's here with us all."

Adding to the miracle - doctors say April Lutz's recovery is going so well, she's expected to be released from the hospital Saturday so she can return home and continue her recovery.

Meanwhile, Snohomish High School students are unleashing a massive outpouring of support for two classmates who survived the vicious knife attack. Student leaders want the girls to know they have an entire community to help them heal.

Pink is the symbolic color for this support campaign, because it's the favorite color of one of the teenage victims.

Pink ribbons are tied to door handles throughout campus, bright pink posters aer plastered in the hallways and cafeteria, and many students, teachers and staff wearing pink.

Other schools have joined in, setting aside rivalries.

Students at Glacier Peak High sent over a giant photo - a group shot of themselves dressed in the Snohomish High colors of red and white.

Students at other schools who heard about the knife attack are also wearing pink.

On Friday, Bekah showed up at school, where classmates greeted her with hugs. She's not speaking publicly about her ordeal yet, but her father wanted us to know she's feeling well.