The Ultimate Prescription
- Wednesday, January 18, 2012
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from The Ultimate Prescription: What the Medical Profession Isn’t Telling You by James L. Marcum (Tyndale).
A Victim of Deception
It was 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday when my pager went off. Tuesday is a “call night” for me, which means I’m available all night for any and all situations that need my attention at the hospital. I should have known better than to think I’d enjoy a full night’s sleep.
The familiar number illuminated on my pager identified the source. I dialed it quickly, and the emergency room doctor picked up on the first ring. “We’ve got a male, thirty-eight years old, experiencing severe chest pains and heart arrhythmia. I’m thinking MI.”
My colleague was right. The symptoms were common for myocardial infarctions. I knew the man in the emergency room was quickly running out of time and, if something wasn’t done soon, he could die.
When I arrived in the exam room, “the patient” became David. He was now very real to me—a man with pale skin and terrified eyes. His blood pressure was dangerously low, he had already received a dose of aspirin to thin his blood, and he was hooked up to a beeping electrocardiogram (EKG) machine.
I introduced myself and quickly scanned his chart. This was serious. Very serious. After breathing a quick prayer on my patient’s behalf, I began to explain to him that he needed a procedure to open up the artery supplying the front of his heart with blood and I was going to assemble a team to fly him by helicopter to a facility where this operation could take place.
What happened next took only a few moments, but it seemed to last forever. David slumped down onto the examination table as his heart rhythm became completely random and unstable. The condition caused the blood to stop circulating in his body—a condition called ventricular tachycardia. Within seconds, he had passed out completely.
A team of highly skilled caregivers rushed into the room. The skin on David’s chest was uncovered, and two electrode pads were attached to a device called a defibrillator by wires. These pads were placed over his heart. A shock of electricity jolted his body, causing it to convulse slightly as all eyes turned to the EKG. Sure enough, the waves of lines indicating the patient’s heartbeats ceased their wild and random dance and settled once again into a steady ba-beat, ba-beat, ba-beat. David’s eyes fluttered open, and he stared up at me for a moment, unsure of what was going on.
“How do you feel?” I asked.
“I’m okay,” he responded weakly, glancing about at the other faces in the room, wondering where all those people had come from.
When I asked him about his pain, he said it was gone. I noticed that his blood pressure and heart rhythm had normalized, and for the moment, at least, my patient was out of danger. David had been dying and had been pulled back into life using a now-common technology. I whispered a prayer of thanks to the God who taught medical professionals how to perform “miracles” using the simple tools found in most modern hospitals.
As preparations for David’s flight to the operating facility continued, I walked into the waiting room to talk with David’s wife and two daughters. They had heard the alarms. They’d seen the technicians running down the hallway. They knew that something was very wrong with their husband and daddy. And they were terrified. Panic showed in their eyes as they desperately clung to one another, trying to maintain a grip on sanity.
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