A few years ago, while at dinner with my friends the Juliens and the Lights, 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 the 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!
A couple of weeks ago, someone guided me to a website for nurses. It’s an open forum where nurses can talk about all aspects of their jobs. One large thread in the forum was ghost stories or unexplained phenomena. Here’s the website.
Here are some of my favorite stories:
“I used to work in a state institution for developmentally disabled. We were temp relocated to another building for the remodeling of our bldg. Anyways…I was working one night, 2nd shift. We had a locked pica unit. I saw one of the residents walking down the hall. Very distinct gait and very distinct yellow t-shirt w/ a happy face on it. I went into the ward to let staff know that they had an escapee. This was a serious situation because this particular resident, Larry, would ingest absolutely anything (from clothing to pens to belts to “ugh” a bird’s head) …literally anything. He was also very reluctant to go back to his home ward (hence why I didn’t bring him back myself…he needed two escorts). When we got back into the hall, less than 15 secs later, Larry was gone!! We searched the entire building! Outside, downstairs, all wards…he was NOWHERE to be found!!! This whole search lasted less than 10 mins because I had all the extra staff looking for him. I was just about to call the house supervisor to let her know that we “lost” someone when out from the bathroom walks Larry w/ one of the staff. He had been getting his bath in the bathroom for the last 30 mins or so. Kind of freaky! I absolutely, without a doubt, saw Larry in the hallway. I never would’ve short-staffed the wards like I did if I hadn’t seen him! Like I said, very distinctive gait, look, clothing. I took a lot of razzing that nite! They all thought that I was crazy. Anyways, come to find out the next day, after the story goes around that I am crazy (haha, giggle giggle, funny, funny)………….. Larry had an identical twin brother who died in that building 10 years previously.”
“I heard a story once about a 5th-floor neuro unit. This was told to me first person. The nurse was at the desk and a guy in white nursing garb came through the double doors, walked into an empty room, and didn’t come back out.
The nurse thought it was weird so he went into the room, and it was empty. He went to the double doors and opened them and there were 2 resp techs talking at the entrance who swore they’d been there talking the whole time and that nobody came through the doors.
When one of his co-workers returned from lunch and he explained what happened, she was like, “Oh, that’s just Bob (actually I don’t remember the name, so the name was changed to protect my ignorance.) He worked here as an LVN years ago and was accused of molesting a child. He was sure he was about to be arrested so he jumped out the window in that room and killed himself. We see him all the time . . .”
“About twenty years ago, in a Long Term Care facility (before I was a nurse) I was going to assist the night nurse with vital signs. I told her I saw something white “floating” down the hall. She said it may have been a resident walking. I said, “No, it was floating.”
About the area where I saw this, we had a linen cart covered with white and I assumed maybe that is really what I had seen. The first room we went into, of course, was near the “spot.” As I was putting the blood pressure cuff on the resident, the nurse said: “never mind.” I didn’t get it, and continued to put on the cuff when the nurse said, “She’s dead, and I believe you saw her soul leaving.” Well, being easily spooked, that job didn’t last much longer.”
“My best friend’s grandfather died unexpectedly when we were in high school and her older sister, was very sad because she was 7-8 months pregnant and her child would have been his first great-grandchild. A few weeks after the baby was born, her husband was working 11-7 and she had the baby in a bassinet at the foot of her bed. She woke up suddenly and saw a figure at the end of the bed looking into the bassinet and she called out her husband’s name and asked, “Is that you?”
The figure looked up and she saw it was her grandfather, wearing the old plaid cap that he always wore and he said in his Scottish accent, “It’s ok – it’s just me, Granda. I just wanted to see my great-grandchild. He’s just beautiful.” And then he disappeared. The baby never woke up at all through all of this.”
“I work in LTC so we see a lot of deaths in our facility. One day we had a CNA on our wing who was walking with a resident from another wing. She hollered for me from down the hall that “Ann” was up in her room walking. (“Ann” had always been very unsteady on her feet and wore a pull alarm) I went down the hall quickly to see what was going on. “Ann” had passed away several days before. But this particular aid was unaware of it. Needless to say, there was no one in the room when I got there. But the feeling when walking into the room was as if someone was there with you and there was a very distinct odor of her perfume. (Could it have been left behind? Yes.) We both had goosebumps and the aid turned white as a ghost (no pun intended.) She swears to this day “Ann” was standing by the desk in her old room. Hmmm.”