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Miracles at the Hospital

Miracles at the Hospital

Marijke Durning | Scrubs Magazine

What is a miracle? Among nurses, we may jokingly say it’s having a full roster of nurses on our shift or a shift without any “code browns,” but a true miracle—if there is such a thing—is much more than that.

A medical miracle is one that can’t be explained by medical and scientific minds. They may have theories, but no one can prove them. So, the events go down in history as “miracles.”

As nurses, we sometimes see what we consider to be miracles: patients who we thought wouldn’t recover walking out of the hospital or a dying patient waiting until someone from afar arrives to say good-bye before allowing himself to pass to the other side.

Here are three miracles that we’ve found. We wonder how the nurses involved felt about them.

Man Regains Speech and Movement After 19-Year Vegetative State

In 1984, 19-year-old Terry Wallis was in a motor vehicle accident near Little Rock, Ark., that left him in a persistent vegetative state. For 19 years, Terry’s parents visited him in his extended care facility and they also brought him home for visits, all the while talking to him and tending to him as needed.

According to a report on CNN.com, in April 2003, Terry greeted his mother by saying “Mom” when she went into his room. More words followed, as well as some voluntary movements.

Terry’s recovery hasn’t been complete—he has lost his short-term memory and has other brain injuries related to the accident—but the fact that his brain was able to rewire itself enough for him to regain the ability to speak seems to be a miracle in itself.

As student nurses, we are taught to speak to our patients whether they seem to be responsive or not—we don’t know if they can hear us. Here is a good example of why we should continue to live by that rule. We just never know who will be that miracle patient.

Christmas Eve Birth Tragedy Turns into a Miracle

Nurses who work in obstetrics get to see the miracle of birth and life every day. And while giving birth on Christmas Eve may make the already miraculous process of birth and life even more special, things can go horribly wrong as well. Just ask Tracy Hermanstorfer and her husband, Mike, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

According to the Associate Press, on Christmas Eve 2009, 35-year-old Tracy was being prepped to deliver her third child when she suddenly stopped breathing. Despite immediate CPR, the doctors and nurses couldn’t bring her back to life. Fearing for the life of the couple’s unborn son, the doctors performed an emergency Cesarean section. A few moments later, Mike was told that Tracy had a pulse once again.

After much testing, doctors were unable to determine what caused Tracy’s brush with death nor can they say if it will or won’t ever happen again. However, this miracle mom is just grateful that she lived to see another day.

Funeral Called Off

Family members had gathered to say their good-byes; a funeral was being planned. It was 2008 and 65-year-old Rae Kupferschmidt had sustained a massive cerebral hemorrhage so severe that there was no hope for her survival, no matter how slim. According to the Star Tribune, doctors at United Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., could not detect any brain activity..

The family had Rae taken off life support and brought her home to die. But things didn’t go as expected, and within a few hours of returning home, Rae began sucking on ice cubes and responding to simple questions.

Emergency surgery was performed to drain the blood. After recuperating, Rae went home with the ability to walk and talk, and determined to live her remaining days to the fullest.

Have you ever witnessed a miracle?

Next: 10 Ways You Can Be a Team Player >>

More on ScrubsMag.com:

In ‘Best of’ Lists: 10 Nursing Rules You’ve Never Heard Of
In Humor: Secret Things Nurses REALLY Think
In Career: How Do I Deal With Attending Patient Funerals?


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