When Dr. Eugene Ramos was working for Biomedis as the Chairperson of the Joy for Caring Advocacy, he asked physicians to contribute stories of healing which they wished to share with other physicians. This was published in the rough in 1985 in a book entitled “Stories That Heal”.
Here is the one of the three stories I shared…
A forty year old nurse who was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had not followed up for two years after surgery, decided to undergo chemotherapy. On re-evaluation, she had Stage 4 disease with liver, lung, pleural and bone metastasis. Chemotherapy was tried but failed and she was admitted for dyspnea due to moderate pleural effusion.
Her dyspnea improved with closed tube thoracostomy followed by pleurodesis. Thereafter, she was noted to be getting weaker and would soon need to be intubated and attached to a mechanical ventilator.
The option to withhold life support measures was discussed with the patient and her relatives. The husband agreed with the suggestion but the patient and her mother decided to proceed with whatever means possible to sustain life. While we were hoping that the patient and her mother would change their stand, the patient was fast deteriorating.
One night, the patient had a dream where she saw Jesus and his disciples calling to her. She saw this as a sign that she should let go and that she was going to be taken care of by God. When her mother heard of her dream, she also decided to let her daughter go.
The next day, the patient died peacefully.
Glossary of Medical Terms
Dyspnea: difficulty in breathing
Intubation: inserting a tube into the trachea usually through the mouth
Life Support: treatment which keeps the body alive by doing the work of bodily functions which are failing
Mechanical Ventilator: also known as a respirator; a machine which assists or replaces a patient’s spontaneous breathing
Pleura: the potential space between the lungs and the inner chest wall
Pleural effusion: fluid in the pleural space
Pleurodesis: agent inserted into the thoracostomy tube to prevent re-accumulation of fluid or air
Tube Thoracostomy: a procedure in which a tube inserted through the chest wall into the pleural space to drain fluid or air