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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
2011 Andrzej Solecki
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