And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
(James 5:15, NKJV)
It was my last weekend on trauma call at Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, California. At 11:00 p.m. on Friday night, the hospital operator announced that a level “A” trauma was en route to the emergency room. The medical student, resident, and I arrived just as a young man, splattered with blood, was wheeled in while paramedics were giving him oxygen. They said his heart had stopped two minutes before arrival. He had two large stab wounds in his left chest.
External massage was begun, and intravenous fluids and blood were given on the way to the operating room. His left chest was opened. Blood was coming from a hole in the pericardium, which was opened further to relieve the tamponade. There was a large hole in his heart, in which I was able to place two fingers and temporarily control bleeding in order to allow resuscitation. The laceration was then closed; and he was taken to the intensive care unit– very cold, with fixed and dilated pupils that signified brain hypoxia.
Many prayers were offered that Sabbath. He was returned to the operating room Sabbath afternoon to evacuate clots from his chest, and from that point he made a rapid recovery. After having received forty units of blood during his ordeal, he was discharged one week later with normal brain and cardiac function. After his recovery, he told me that while in the ambulance, as he felt his life slipping away, he offered a simple prayer to God to save him. All the human effort only aided the Lord in allowing Jerry to live. This was truly a great miracle, but a greater miracle occurred when Jerry gave his heart to Jesus.
Dr Alexis Carrel, known as the father of modern vascular surgery, made the following statement: “Prayer is as real a force as terrestrial gravity. As a physician, I have seen men, after all other therapy has filled, lifted out of disease and melancholy by the serene effort of prayer. It is only power in the world that seems to overcome the so-called laws of nature. Occasions in which prayer has dramatically done this have been termed miracles. But a quieter miracle takes place hourly in the hearts of men and women who have discovered that prayer supplies them with a steady flow of sustaining power in their daily lives.” To this I say, “Amen.”
God has a role for each of us to play in patient care. God directed many individuals, including the forty anonymous people who donated blood, to help Jerry survive. We are all part of the body of Christ in giving love and care to all of God’s children. As we do this, we will fulfill the Loma Linda University motto:” To make man whole.”
– Clifton Reeves, LLUSM class of 1960