July/August 2012 - Vol. 61..

The Bone Surgeon: A personal story of a life-changing revolution
 by Andrzej Solecki

illustrations by Grzegorz Grys

Chapter 3
Intuition and Resuscitation 

A two-month-old baby girl was brought to our hospital by an ER ambulance one day. Her name was Agnieszka and she was suffering from the Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome. She had already gone through four heart attacks and four resuscitations. I remember that she was given a drug called Cordarone, which was difficult to get at that time. I was the youngest on the anaesthesiologists’ team and my more experienced colleagues explained to me that the prognosis for a baby with such a syndrome is usually unfavourable. Her chances of survival were slight. 

Shortly after the baby was admitted to the ward, her heart stopped. It took us one hour to get her back. However, her pupils had widened and hadn’t reacted to light since she had arrived at the hospital. A moment later, two more stoppages of blood circulation occurred. The last resuscitation that we attempted took about an hour and was not successful. The monitor was mercilessly showing a ‘flat line’. The team looked at one another and refrained from further action unanimously, which was in line with the principles of our medical training. So far more had been done than was required in such cases. 

When they had left the intensive care room, I ordered the nurse to dose Cordarone again and attempted cardiac massage and ventilation. I guess I was following my intuition, which is often helpful (or even indispensable, as some people would say) in the profession of a doctor. As I was carrying out the resuscitation I entered into a rather arrogant dialogue with God.

‘Very well, Lord God, if you are so good and almighty, as Grazyna says, here is a little chance for you to display your power’,  I challenged Him in my thoughts.

About ten minutes later, her heart started beating again. I went to the staffroom and announced to my colleagues: “Agnieszka is back!” They did not go into raptures. Everybody knew that even if her heart did not stop again (which it probably would), she would be a plant. Well, not only did Agnieszka’s heart keep going, but two days later, her pupils started to narrow and became sensitive to light; four days later, she was taken off the respirator and within a week her condition was so good that her mother could take her home. What I had learned from that experience was that … at the end of the day, medicine can do miracles in difficult cases, especially through the hands of a particularly gifted doctor. My conversation with God was soon forgotten. 

A few years later, already as a bone surgeon, I received a phone call from Inka M, a senior registrar at the Children’s Intensive Care Unit, who asked me to come to the ward and meet somebody. It was Agnieszka with her mother. She was a healthy little girl and apparently one of the best pupils in her class. 

(c) 2011 Andrzej Solecki

Click on links below to read separate chapters.
Chapter 1 The Tools
Chapter 2 Communism and the Trouble with Grazyna
Chapter 3 Intuition and Resuscitation
Chapter 4 Post-Wedding Bash

copyright © 2012  Living Bulwark
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