Life and Death

For those few who may be following my wisdom – the reason I haven’t been writing anything for awhile is I am doing chaplaincy training at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola. I encounter life and death every day and haven’t had time to write about it. I must write occasional “verbatims” about patient encounters and I will include some material from these verbatims.

I watched a patient die in a trauma room. The head nurse called me to convince a family to stop life support. I really didn’t do much to convince the husband and two daughters that their mother was brain dead. The mother’s chest went up and down but only because of the artificial breathing apparatus. I sat with the weeping family as the life support was removed. I watched the heart monitor gradually flatline. I saw the mother’s skin change from flesh color to the pale of death. The husband continued to kiss her forhead and recite the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Marys. Her spirit was gone. Where? I don’t know.

I was summuned to the Emergency Department. A young man tried to commit suicide. When he pulled the trigger the gun jerked and the bullet grazed the back of his head knocking him unconscious. I sat on his bed in the ED, his head wrapped with bandages, and we talked. Suicide to escape stress. When his wound healed he was transfered to the mental health department. I continued to meet with him and share faith in Christ. The patient was grateful to be alive. I found out he occasionally attended a church. Not by coincidence, I had passed by the church a few days earlier, so I knew where it was. I contacted the church and invited one of the pastors to visit the patient with me so the patient would have support when he left the mental health unit. We met with the patient and his wife and son and shared the Gospel with them. What a joy to see the patient confess faith in Christ! The patient, wife, son, and stepson will attend the church and receive counseling.

This is life and death in a hospital. I will share more later.

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