For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?~Esther 4:14
In 1934, Dr. Mollerus Couperus graduated from the College of Medical Evangelists. Not sure what area in medicine he wanted to practice, he pursued a mission opportunity at the Hydrotherapy Institute, a Seventh-Day Adventist Mission in Jerusalem. At the time, Jerusalem was as part of the Kingdom of Transjordan. Dr. Couperus felt it was a place where God would lead him in his life of service.
One day, a call came from the palace in Amman, Jordan. King Abdullah was requesting an available doctor to come and treat a very sick baby in the palace. Dr. Couperus responded he would be willing to see the baby.
Soon a limousine arrived and off they went across the Jordan River into Amman, to the palace of the King. Upon arrival, Dr. Couperus was led into a building with a long hallway and many doors on either side. As he walked down the hall, he realized he was in the harem.
At the end of the hall, a door opened into a large room with a bassinet in the center. Inside it was a tiny infant with sunken eyes, poor skin turgor, and listless crying… all signs the doctor knew were due to dehydration. He recognized that this baby was likely a prince. He asked the nurses what they were feeding the baby. They said another doctor had told them to feed him sweetened condensed milk. Dr. Couperus realized the concentrated milk had severely dehydrated the baby, and vomiting had compounded the problem. The young doctor told them to find a wet nurse and give this baby breast milk right away.
The door suddenly burst open and a man wielding a sword headed toward Dr. Couperus! Word had gotten out that there was an infidel in the nursery. The guards restrained the man and escorted Dr. Couperus back to the limo and drove him safely back home.
Several weeks later, he received a phone call from King Abdullah himself, stating that the baby had recovered, and thanking him for his wise recommendations. He kindly stated that the doctor could visit the palace anytime.
Years later, Dr. Couperus was a successful dermatologist on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Late one afternoon, his receptionist excitedly reported, “There are some strangers in the waiting room asking to talk to you.” Upon entering the room, Dr. Couperus found three men dressed in Arabic robes and headdress. They stated they were ministers in the government of Jordan and had been sent by the King.
They asked if he had been in Transjordan in 1935, and he nodded. They asked if he had treated a sick baby in the palace; again he nodded. They told him the baby was now King Hussein of Jordan! The King had become aware that Dr. Couperus had treated him and wanted to reward him for saving his life. The ministers invited him to come back to Jordan at any time and they would honor him. Unfortunately, the doctor was never able to follow through on their generous offer.
King Hussein went on to become a respected king and a major stabilizing force in the Middle East. Perhaps history would have had a different course if God had not used a young Seventh-Day Adventist doctor to save an infant in the harem. – Richard Catalano, LLUSM, Executive Vice Chairman and Professor in LLUSM department of surgery.