Posts Tagged ‘suffering’

From the Britain’s The Daily Mail comes another story of a “miraculous” recovery by a patient who was declared brain dead by the attending doctors.  Of course, organ donation has a starring role.

They were told there was no chance of their son surviving after he suffered devastating injuries in a car crash.

But Steven Thorpe’s parents refused to give up hope – despite four specialists declaring that the 17-year-old was brain dead.

Convinced they saw a ‘flicker’ of life as Steven lay in a coma, John and Janet Thorpe rejected advice to switch off his life support machine.

They begged for another opinion – and it was a decision that saved him.

A neurosurgeon found faint signs of brain activity

And of course, the link to organ donation:

‘The doctors were telling my parents that they wanted to take me off the life support. The words they used to my parents were “You need to start thinking about organ donations”.

Yes, of course the doctors wanted the family to be thinking about organ donation.  I guarantee someone of the staff at the hospital started their own thinking about organ donation within minutes of the EMT arrival of a brain injured patient.

This could be a photo of hospital organ donation administrators...or a pair of vultures.

Steven is now 21, a graduate and clerical trainee.  Despite losing use of his left arm and “extensive reconstructive surgery to his face” including having both his nose and eye socket rebuilt, Steven says he considers his survival as “a full recovery” and is very grateful that his parents were adamant to bring in another opinion.

The hospital issued a statement to The Daily Mail,

‘The injury to Steven’s brain was extremely critical and several CT scans of the head showed almost irreversible damage.

‘It is extremely rare that a patient with such extensive trauma to the brain should survive. We were delighted to see Steven recover.’

The article does not state whether the hospital told Steven’s parents, as they urged them to donate ‘dead’ Steven’s organs, that he had “almost irreversible damage.”  When a grieving family is told to start thinking about organ donation, they think their loved one is dead, not almost dead.  But time and again, stories like this show us that to an unfortunate number of medical workers, “almost dead” = “dead dead”.

Dr. Piper, the General Practitioner whose involvement saved Steven’s life notes, “I am astonished with the outcome but one worries that this may happen more often than we know.”

I’m worried too.

h/t to Lifesitenews whose own article on this story includes several references to similar recent “miraculous” recoveries.  Furthermore, they have a dozen similar articles linked at the bottom of their post.  Educate yourself and check it out.



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Sorry for another repost of someone else’s article but I stumbled upon this gem that is absolutely worth a look.  (Plus, I know if I post the article on my website, I’ll always know where to find it!)

Rob Dapreau of Catholic Phoenix writes this essay on what “carrying our cross” means, and even more, how to carry it.  He writes,

…Christ willingly embraces both our cross and our crucifixion. He does so freely, out of love. Why he would do this is a mystery so great that it is incomprehensible when looked at from a paradigm of justice. We can only begin to understand it when we look at it through eyes of love.

When I taught high school, I would often ask my students what should be done about a society that was officially instituted to provide for the common welfare of its members, but in practice, systematically took advantage of one of them. The exploited person was always expected to eat cold food, take cold showers, and wear old clothes, so that the others—who rarely showed appreciation and regularly showed contempt—could have the best of everything.

They would decry the injustice and suggest everything from castration to crucifixion as a remedy. Then I’d drop the bomb on them: “That’s your family, and that exploited member is your mom.”


The thing is, most moms, like Jesus, aren’t motivated by justice; they’re motivated by love. This means they find happiness in making their loved ones happy. A good mom is more than willing to deprive herself for her children, but even a great daycare worker will strike if you try to make a mother’s level of commitment into the standard employees are expected to meet.

Love is the only thing that can make sense of sacrifice. The only right response to sacrificial love is love. We show our love and gratitude to Jesus by keeping his commandments, including the one with which I started this post.

Here are some things to consider as we try to follow the way of the cross.

The rest of his essay is just as good.  I especially like his reminder not to drag our cross, but to bear it cheerfully.  I find myself dragging mine from time to time, so this was a great visualization and nudge.  Read the rest here.

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I meant to post this closer to last weekend, but travel and illness kept me from it.  However, I am very happy that our namesake has been beatified.  Chiara “Luce” Badano was declared Blessed on Saturday, September 25, 2010.



Young Chiara Luce Badano has been an inspiration to me for the way she wholely, unreservedly and intentionally chose to accept God’s plan for her life.  Her joy is palpable in her actions of her life, in her words passed down to us, and in the very photos of her life, especially her long terminal illness.

Blessed Chiara Luce, pray for us!

(Click here to see the very moving video on her life and cause which Rome Reports has posted.)

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Our awesome Pope Benedict is reminding the faithful of the teachings of JPII on suffering.  How gracious and wise are his words.  From the Catholic News Agency:

Vatican City, Dec 3, 2009 / 10:26 am (CNA).- Benedict XVI has announced that the World Day of the Sick will be celebrated this liturgical year on February 11, the 25th anniversary of the institution of  the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers.  The Pontiff drew attention to the essential nature of pastoral service for the sick and asked those who are ill “to pray and offer up their sufferings for priests” in this Year of the Priest.

For February 11, the Pope said, the Church would like to “raise awareness in the ecclesial community of the importance of pastoral service in the vast world of health…”  It’s a service, that plays an integral part in healthcare’s mission following  “the same saving mission of Christ.”

“Through the mystery of his passion, death and resurrection, human suffering obtains sense and fullness of light.”

Benedict quoted the words of his predecessor to “illuminate” this mystery.  John Paul II wrote that in Christ’s death, human suffering reached it’s culmination and also entered into a new dimension of love, obtained through suffering.

“The Cross of Christ became a spring, from which gush rivers of living water.”

The Pontiff also highlighted the necessity for a “logic of love” practiced with the little ones and the needy as witnessed in Christ’s washing of the apostles’ feet  and called for every Christian to relive the parable of the Good Samaritan.

“Go and do the same,” says Jesus at the end of the parable.

“With these words he turns also to us,” indicated the Pope.  He calls us to see that “the experience of sickness and suffering can become a lesson of hope.”

It’s not “resting from the suffering or running from the pain that cures man, but it is his capacity to accept tribulation and to mature in it, to find sense through the union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.”

Pope Benedict called particular attention to the institutions that provide humanitarian and spiritual healing to the sick and suffering, saying there has never been more need for them in the world.  He recognized the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers specifically.  The council will celebrate its 25th anniversary of service this coming year.

The Holy Father concluded with a message directed to priests and the sick.  To the priests, as “ministers of the sick,” he said, “not to hold back in giving care and comfort to the sick.”  To the sick, he implored, “I ask you to pray and offer your sufferings for priests, that they may remain faithful to their vocations and that their ministry be rich in spiritual fruits, to the benefit of the entire church.”

Though we may not be ill, each of us suffers in some way, at some point in our lives.  As modern folks, we don’t expect to suffer.  We don’t like it and we run from it.  So it is good to be reminded that suffering is universal, it is inescapable and furthermore, it is not necessarily bad:  it can be a conduit to God.  By turning our suffering into an offering for others, we participate in a beautiful sacrifice, pleasing to God and edifying for ourselves.  The mere contemplation of such offerings fills my soul with awe and joy.

How great is our God!

Pope Benedict asks sick to offer up suffering for priests.

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Last year, a young man I knew suffered an undiagnosed brain aneurysm which burst on his way to work.  He was driving down the interstate at the time and wandered across the median where he hit an oncoming car head-on.   Thanks to the testimony of a witness traveling behind him, the paramedics and emergency staff immediately diagnosed him as possibly suffering an aneurysm.  They got him into treatment right away but unfortunately on the second day in the ICU, he had a brain-stem stroke:  basically, the worst kind.  By this time, mutual friends had let me know what happened, and I was making emergency arrangements to travel to his city.

At this point, I should tell you that Andy was a phenomenal human being, just really the kind of son that every parent would want to raise.  He was considerate, respectful, fun-loving, loyal, adventurous, faithful, and joyous.  His MySpace listed his father as his hero and his concerns were always his family, both his parents and especially his younger sister.  To my knowledge, he never went through a period of rebellion, and never was ’embarrassed’ by his parents, as so many kids feel at least temporarily.   His family had raised Andy in a very evangelical church and though he had a lot of fun in college and afterward, he never strayed very far and I must say again, that he was one of the most thoughtful, kind, and generous people I’ve ever met. 

As I was getting ready to travel to see him, a team of doctors were testing Andy’s brain responses.  Though he had some functioning, and could breathe on his own, they determined that he was “brain-dead” and recommended to his devastated family that they sign-off on harvesting his organs.  Now, absolutely, Andy would have wanted to help others through donations of his working organs.  His parents clearly knew this too.  They sadly agreed, having spent several days in shock in the hospital.  However, when I heard about this decision, I was stunned.  I am by no means a medical expert but I know a little about medical issues.  I kept asking  our mutual friends if they were explaining the story correctly.  How could the doctors declare Andy ‘brain dead’ when he passed the functioning test and could breathe on his own?  This really made no sense to me.  I asked them over and over to explain the details to me.

The declaration of ‘brain dead’ was made on a Monday and on Tuesday morning, a team of specialists collected his vital organs and Andy died.  He was 27.

I never made it in time to say goodbye.      (more…)

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