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Advances in Surger – Our Thanks To Who?

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I have been a doctor for over 40 years, and I can truthfully say I have seen only one miracle.

So what is a ‘miracle’?  Being the atheist that I am, a ‘miracle’ is not something that I feel convinced that some deity had a hand in, but rather just something I cannot possibly explain through a normal, rational, medical, scientific basis.

My miracle was 40 years ago in Gibraltar, that strange rock poking out into the Mediterranean inhabited by Barbary apes, and a constant thorn in the side of Spain which used to own it (though with the football results they will have forgotten about it for now).  The Barbary apes can also inflict a very nasty bite.

I was there as a Junior surgeon and a Gibraltarian lady presented with some hard lumps in her stomach.  My boss said, this will be inoperable cancer.

We opened her up and found large grey/white lumps, firmly adherent to everything.  It was, just as my boss predicted, cancer simply everywhere.  We had opened, and we closed.

Mrs. Gonzales was returned to the ward.  We could not help.  Mrs. Gonzales reacted to the bad news with none of the expected wailing and gnashing of teeth, but by telling us that she would be getting better and she would be going home for Xmas.  “In a wooden box,” I thought to myself.

The post-operative phase was disastrous.  The cancer tissue came through the wound and then eroded through the bowel, so now there was a direct passage for the fecal matter to get to the outside.  And yet, all the time, Mrs. Gonzales said she would be going home for Xmas.  I did not change my opinion.  It would be in a pine box.

However, after three months, the seemingly impossible occurred.  Her inoperable multiple cancerous lumps had disappeared, and the discharging wound had healed all by itself.

Mrs. Gonzales did indeed go home for Xmas, waddling proudly out of the hospital to the waiting taxi.   Indeed a miracle.


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