Monday, May 16, 2011

The Power of Prayer

A friend of mine who is a Physician Assistant and works in Trauma related this experience to me the other day:

"I have a story to tell you. At work last night a man was brought in who had shot himself in the head. It was a catastrophic non survivable injury. He essentially blew off half his head. He knocked out the blood supply to the entire front of his brain as well as one side. He also herniated his brain stem. He had bullet shards all through his brain, including his brain stem. He was about as dead as they get. I've recently taken up the practice of saying the chaplet of Divine Mercy at the bedside of all the patients I see who come in and are dying. I wasn't praying for his life, as that was obviously futile, I was just praying for his soul. Gift of Life had already been called to come in and harvest this man's organs. He was dead.

Shortly after I finished the prayers his nurse starts yelling that the man is waking up and moving his extremities. I was stunned. I ran over to examine him, and sure enough he is moving his legs and following commands. He has a breathing tube in so he can't speak or anything. I immediately call the trauma surgeon and the neurosurgeon to say this man woke up. Neither one really seemed to believe me. A minute or two later the man coded. Then he came back, on his own! he was not shocked. we did nothing to revive him. Right after that the neurosurgeon walked in. After he coded he went right back to being unresponsive. He was not following any commands. It was pretty clear this man was dying rapidly. The neurosurgeon saw him and said there was nothing to do, and probably thought I was a bit crazy as this man was clearly unresponsive. He was intubated without any sedation or paralytics, that is how unresponsive he was!

I said another chaplet when we took him up to the ICU. And he woke up again. This time there was about 8 people who witnessed it. I called the trauma surgeon and the neurosurgeon again. No one has any explanation. I have never seen someone with a herniated brain stem being awake. I have never even heard of such a thing! That is as fatal as your heart stopping. For him to be awake is completely senseless, especially once you factor in that he has no blood supply to almost his whole brain. I don't know if this is a coincidence between him waking up and the chaplet. But I am stunned. No one has any explanation. They are still saying he is dying and whatever is going on with him does not change the fact that his brain is destroyed.... yet he is awake.

I'm working again tonight. Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if he is dead by then. Clearly if he is following commands, he can think. I just hope that perhaps this bizarre period of lucidity will allow him to make some sort of internal confession for his sins. I'm not sure what that is worth without a priest, but we can only trust his soul to God, you know?

I don't believe there are coincidences when it comes to the power of prayer.  Prayer is the strongest tool we have, and we should never underestimate its strength.  The case however has become complicated as the doctors who are working with this man have decided that his condition is too severe to do anything about.  This friend told me when she returned to work the following night, she found he was still "responsive".  If you asked him how he was doing, he would give the "thumbs up" and he would cross his ankles.  Clearly there is a part of his brain that is STILL functioning.  However, the doctors have titled that mere "reflex" and have decided to let him progress to brain death.  Apparently its not worth their time to try and save this man because the results would not end up being "acceptable." 

This man may have done something horrible to himself in trying to take his own life, yes.  However, clearly through the power of prayer, he has been given a second chance.  Maybe it's just enough to obtain forgiveness, or maybe it will end up being enough to show medical professionals that they are not in control; whatever it is....its another example that God is the giver of Life, and He is the taker of Life...and no one else on this Earth has that right.  Please keep this man in your prayers....pray that through some miracle this man will be given at least the chance of survival.

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us!

1 comment:

  1. That is quite a story! Did they get a priest to him? Maybe even the sight of a priest would cause him to make an inner confession. We will pray for this man's soul! Keep us updated!