Isn’t it strange how when medical science is responsible for bringing someone out of a coma, or successfully performing surgery while a baby is still in utero, it’s called a “miracle”? Organ and bone marrow transplants are still considered miracles. So is saving the life of a person who suffered third-degree burns over 85 percent of his body.
What about before the invention of all these amazing medical advances? The REAL miracles would have occurred 150 years ago, when doctors didn’t have a clue about resuscitation techniques or feeding tubes, MRIs and other brain scans, angioplasties and quadruple bypasses. How come we didn’t have any “medical miracles” 100 years ago?
I’ll tell you what we had back then: A lot of dead people. They died from things that today, a first-year medical student could fix. A century ago, people weren’t emerging from comas like they do today. They didn’t recover from brain swelling or collapsed lungs, like they do today. That’s because today, we know what to do. Yet it’s often called a “miracle.”
No. It would have been a miracle if, 100 years ago, a person’s brain swelling went down without drugs, or the blood clot in his brain magically disappeared without the help of special wires that surgeons run up through the patient’s leg, all the way to his brain to remove the clot. And if 100 years ago, a person who was charred in a fire somehow grew back healthy skin, that, too, would have been a miracle.
When someone recovers from a catastrophic illness or near-fatal injury, we can thank medical science. A few centuries ago, with no cars and no industrial machinery, there really weren’t a whole lot of incidents of ravaging injuries to even call miraculous, if the person survived.
Back then, people either died from old age or infections, diarrhea (yes, believe it or not), blood loss, pneumonia and viral invasions. And of course, the occasional horse-and-buggy accident or fall from a barnyard loft.
In fact, if you were to travel far enough back in time and performed the Heimlich maneuver on a choking person, the event would be considered a miracle, an act of God, divine intervention.
Yet today, even children have performed the Heimlich maneuver on choking adults. Same thing with CPR – imagine what kind of deity you’d be considered if, in the 18th century, you performed this on a heart attack victim in the middle of a busy plaza.
These days, what’s considered a miraculous medical event will be considered mere routine 50 years from now. In fact, the next five years promise to reveal extraordinary advances in medical technology.