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|The Miracle of Medicine||
In Richmond, Virginia, a brain-dead pregnant woman who has been kept on life support for nearly three months gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Susan Torres, 26, lost consciousness last May from a cancer-induced stroke. Realizing that two lives were at stake, her doctors kept Susan's body functioning until her baby reached a point, near the beginning of the third trimester, in which she would likely survive outside the womb. Susan Anne Catherine Torres, named after her now-deceased mother, was delivered on Tuesday by caesarean section and "is doing well," according to reports from the family. Because medical science was committed to life of both the mother and the child, a miracle was birthed through tragedy.
In another case that the Washington Post says "can't be explained by some of the smartest brains in the world," a Kansas woman has broken through 20 years of silence brought on by brain damage. After being struck by a drunk driver at the age of 18, Sarah Scantlin remained speechless, immobile and incapable of communication for two decades. Most people assumed she would stay that way forever. Some gave up on her. A few, no doubt, forgot about her as the years slipped away.
But Sarah's family never forgot. And with the help of an unselfish, compassionate and determined nurse, Sarah slowly began communicating -- wordlessly, at first -- and, finally, speaking.
Remarkably, she "awoke" aware of many landmark events of the past 20 years, presumably from the television set in her room. She knew about the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. She knew about 9/11. And now the rest of the world knows about her miracle.
These two women, Susan and Sarah, share a common bond: They are both medical miracles. The best that science has to offer intervened in their lives on behalf of life itself in order to achieve something significant and, arguably, sacred. Though one of the women died, exposing the mortal limitations of medicine, the doctors and nurses involved in her care remained faithful to the honor of their profession. They fought on the side of life.
A man scaling a staircase, seeking to reach the top, may stumble in the process. But as long as his focus remains upward, he will continue moving in the right direction, even if he fails to keep his footing. Like this man, medical science will continue to make positive strides, despite instances of failure, as long as it is committed to life.
In the last half-century, I have seen a dangerous and destructive trend to turn away from the traditional tenets of medicine and spiral downward. A culture of death has poisoned a portion of the medical community, enticing them to betray the Hippocratic Oath, which states:
"I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art."Science is a gift from God. Through it, we are occasionally able to unlock some secrets of His creation to give people healing and hope. Society must guard the "purity and holiness" of the art of medicine so that it may continue to fulfill its true purpose. The whole of medicine exists to preserve, to enhance, and to heal.
We can be certain that in time, death will choose us one-by-one. But until that day, we must vigorously choose life.