By Dr. Yogesh A Bang
I am a surgeon and work in a hospital in Hyderabad (India). We once had a 47-year-old patient in the ICU who was operated upon twice within 20 days at some local hospital before he was admitted here.
His condition was very critical and was diagnosed with enterocutaneous fistula, which is an abnormal connection that develops between the intestinal tract or stomach and the skin. He was in a very serious condition and the patient was showing no signs of improvement although he was in the ICU. Soon the infection started spreading and as a doctor, I was very worried about his condition. We followed all protocols and shared regular details with his family. We soon started treatment with antibiotics, conducted dialysis and provided parenteral nutrition (the process of feeding a person intravenously) to him.
He responded to our treatment and started showing signs of improvement. He was discharged from the ICU and was transferred to a room. But due to weakness and prolonged stay in the hospital, the patient developed chest infection. Unfortunately, his health deteriorated again and he required ventilatory support.
It was a difficult time for everyone. As doctors, we tried our best and provided every possible treatment to the patient. There was a time when we thought he would not make it. We had to break the news to his wife. We counseled his wife and brother to take him to a government hospital as treatment was getting very expensive and there was no improvement.
But his wife and brother had something more powerful than us — their unwavering faith in God. They asked us to continue our efforts.
It was then the miracle happened.
To our surprise, the condition of the patient slowly improved. His vitals were stabilized, the chest infection started healing and he even got off the ventilator. He was shifted to a room and gradually started talking and eating. Then the day came when he fully recovered and was discharged. It was a happy moment for everyone.
As doctors, we had put in our best efforts, but I totally attribute his recovery to his wife, brother and his whole family. Money kept flowing, but they didn’t stop treatment. Even we, as doctors, lost hope. But their hope, faith, prayers and the determination to take him home made this happen.
Sometimes we get too practical and forget the sentiments, the power of faith and God. We think very practically and give our medical opinion in best interest of the patient. But then God does something like this and makes us realize that miracles do happen!
Recently, the patient came for a follow up in OPD. I was very happy to see him and his wife. Both thanked me but I felt very guilty inside and tears rolled down my cheeks. Seeing the patient walk, talk and laugh like any normal person made my day. As a doctor seeing somebody die is not very uncommon, but seeing someone coming out of death-bed is just miraculous.
Hats off to that family, who had tremendous faith in the Almighty power presiding over everything.
Like we say: “Zindagi aur maut toh uparwaale kay haath mein hain…” (“Life and death are in the hands of the Almighty”)
Man is faith. Man cannot survive without faith. In fact, without faith our lives would be living hell. We will start suspecting everything, from morning till we go to bed – “what if…”
Faith (shraddhaa) means complete surrender, unconditionally, without any reservation to that Almighty Power or the Absolute Truth.
How do we know whether we have such faith or not? The only test to find this out is whether we entertain even a little bit of worry (chintaa) in any corner of our mind regarding anything whatsoever. If we do, then there is a flaw in our faith, because, as there can’t be two swords in one scabbard or sheath, so also there cannot be faith and worry simultaneously in the same mind. Either we have faith or there is worry. Both can’t exist together in the mind at the same time. The presence of worry indicates the flaw in our faith.
When we have complete faith we become carefree, but not careless.