Last Friday, I met up with two of my favorite authors, Ophelia Julien and Donnie Light. We, along with our spouses, got together for dinner and conversation. (Kudos to the folks at Panera in DeKalb, Illinois for putting up with us.) During dinner, Ophelia told me about a hospital-sponsored program that she thought I would have loved, about medicine and spirituality. The guest speaker was Scott J. Kolbaba, MD and he is the author of “Physicians’ Untold Stories.” After hearing some of the stories, I wrote to Dr. Kolbaba and he graciously allowed me to share a couple of his stories on my blog. I’ve since purchased his book and the stories are amazing and heart-warming. So, without further ado, let me share with you the stories that caught me – hook, line and sinker.
The young man had come from a family of doctors. His grandfather had been a doctor, his father was a doctor and he decided that he was going to be a doctor too. He worked hard through medical school and his residency. Finally, he got his first job in California. On the day before he was to start, he called his father. “Dad, I’ve finally become a doctor,” he said with pride.
“No, son, you are not a doctor yet,” was his father’s disappointing reply.
Hurt, and a little angry, the young doctor replayed the conversation over and over in his mind. And, he was still thinking about it as he drove to his first day of work the next morning. But, that thought was pushed out of his mind when he saw a young boy standing on the corner of the street, frantically waving him down and motioning him down the side street.
He turned down the street and his heart dropped. A school bus accident was right before him and it looked like he was the first responder.
With the help of area residents, he helped get the children off the bus and quickly assessed their injuries and stabilized them before moving on to the next victim. Finally, he moved from curbside into the bus to locate any other children. In the crumpled and twisted front of the bus, he saw a body. He hurried forward, but could tell that the little boy had not survived the crash. He felt for the pulse that he knew, instinctively, would not be there and then he gently turned the child over. A cold chill ran through his body as he recognized the child. He was the same little boy who had been standing on the corner, frantically waving for help.
Later, he called his father and told him about the incident. At the end of the conversation, his father said, “And now, my son, you are a doctor.”
This is an excerpt directly from the book and David Mochel, MD was the doctor who shared this story.
She was dead; no question. Eyes closed, no pulse, no heartbeat, no respirations, no movement, and unresponsive. I don’t know how it happened. It was a routine ankle surgery. Mary was given general anesthesia and went to sleep, but when her antibiotic was given intravenously, she arrested. Her monitor showed a flat line, and I immediately called a “Code Blue.”
The operating room was suddenly filled with people. Out scrub nurse initially started to do CPR, but Mary was over three hundred pounds, and my nurse was not tall enough to adequately do compressions. One of the OR techs with striking red hair rushed in from the room next door and took over. Young and relatively inexperienced, the red-headed tech was not doing the compressions well enough to generate a pulse, so I asked him to step aside. He did not move. I asked him again, but again, no movement.
I still couldn’t feel a pulse. In the heat of the moment, politeness is sometimes compromised. I gently, but firmly, elbowed him out of the way. The tech stumbled away, and I took over. I had to do the compressions forcefully in order to achieve a pulse and, in so doing, I felt her sternum and possibly one rib crack. After several minutes and some cardia meds given intravenously, Mary regained a heartbeat and started to breathe on her own. She did not wake up until after she was transferred to the intensive care unit. Cardiologists took over and multiple tests were done, including a coronary angiogram, but nothing revealed the cause of her arrest. We assumed it was a reaction to the antibiotic.
Mary was a little dazed for several days, but she eventually recovered, and, after one week, she was ready to be discharged. I stopped in on her last day to give some final instructions about the care of her ankle.
“Thank you for saving my life,” she said in almost a whisper.
I thanked her for her kindness, but told her it really was a team effort.
“No,” she said. “I know it was you! I watched you from above the operating room. When my heart stopped, I could feel myself floating above my body, and I watched everything. I saw the young orderly with the bright red hair come in from the next door and do CPR, and then I saw you elbow him out of the way since he would not move when you asked him. You saw him stumble away, didn’t you?”
Her statement gave me goosebumps. There was no way she would have known this unless she was right there observing everything in the room.
There’s a little bit more to this story, but because of space I’m not going to share it all. However, the doctor does go on to say that there was no way she could have discovered what had happened from anyone else.
You can find Dr. Kolbaba’s book on Amazon – For some wonderful, feel good miracle experiences, I highly recommend it!