Miracle on Longwood Avenue

By Leslie

Do you believe in miracles? Or are you a skeptic? Regardless, many years ago, when I was a pediatric resident at Boston Children’s Hospital, I witnessed a miracle.

Christine was a bright, red-headed preschooler. During her first asthmatic attack, she had an exceeding rare cardio-respiratory arrest. We resuscitated her, but unfortunately, Christine remained comatose. She lay in her crib on the pediatric ward. Day after day, her mother sat and read to her. We thought it pointless, but dared not express this thought to her mother.

One day, however, while making my work rounds, Christine’s mother informed me that she thought Christine was making some facial movements in response to the story being read. I looked, but couldn’t be sure. But Christine’s mother was sure. (An old maxim in pediatrics holds that a wise physician always listens to the parent.) And slowly, and then not so slowly, Christine awakened from her coma. She didn’t need physical therapy as we residents bought her a tricycle with which she explored the highways and byways of the pediatric ward with increasing vigor.

And then it was time for Christine’s discharge from the hospital. Never was a group of residents so saddened and yet so overjoyed to see a child go home.

Now do you believe in miracles? Merry Christmas!

December 2016