The Hand of God

The Hand of God

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories of Faith

The Hand of God

In 1966, during the earliest days of kidney transplantation, I witnessed a series of events where I could clearly see the hand of God touching a man’s life.

I was a member of the transplant team in a very large, busy hospital. The plan was in place for a man named Don to donate a kidney to his younger brother, Ray, on Wednesday.

On Monday morning, Ray was beginning his scheduled kidney dialysis four floors below the surgery suite. Monday was a heavily scheduled day for surgeries. I was assisting a surgeon in one room, while another nurse re-sterilized the transplant equipment used over the weekend.

At the same time, a man in his mid-thirties entered the emergency room in cardiac arrest. The intern, who had just spent the previous month as part of the kidney transplant team, recognized the man as Don. He had worked with this donor just the week before. When his frantic efforts to save Don failed, the intern continued CPR, hoping to save the kidney until his younger brother was located. His staff called our surgery suite and was stunned to learn that not only were there two surgery rooms suddenly available, but the younger brother was in the building undergoing his weekly dialysis.

The responsibility fell on the nurses in the dialysis unit to explain to Ray that his brother had fallen gravely ill at work and was not able to be revived. With the two brothers side by side in adjoining operating rooms, the kidney was removed from Don and successfully implanted into Ray.

In a big-city hospital, only by the grace of God could two surgical suites be empty on a busy Monday morning, the kidney transplant team be in the OR, the kidney recipient be in the hospital, and the intern recognize the donor at the time of his death.

That day each team member felt they were a part of implementing God’s will on this Earth.

~Jo Stickley

Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul

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