The heart is perhaps the most vital part of the human body. Long before birth, the heart of a baby begins to pump and circulate blood. When the heart stops, the body can no longer sustain life.
In 1983 when I was a young pastor in Berkeley, Calif., I experienced the trauma of a family having to deal with a tragedy involving this truly an extraordinary organ.
A six-month-old baby boy was transported by helicopter from Monterrey, Calif., to San Francisco General Hospital. The baby’s father was a Korean naval officer studying at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey. He was a church member where my brother-in-law was pastor. When he called about the situation, I drove to the hospital to visit the baby’s parents since I was nearby.
I learned from the parents that their only child was born with a congenital heart problem called infant methemoglobinemia, also known as “blue baby” syndrome. A few days later the attending doctor discussed the options at the time — either keep him on life support with little to no chance of recovery or pull the plug.
It was the most painful ethical dilemma for a parent! Even my previous experience as a former hospital chaplain didn’t prepare me for this. I was at a loss for words.
With much agonizing prayer and pastoral counseling, the parents decided to let go of the child as there was nothing more the doctors could do. I stood there with the parents watching the heartbreaking moment. The baby’s mother held her only child in her tender arms in tears, not wanting to let go. The heart continued to pump slowly for about 20 minutes. The doctor came by a couple of times to check the baby’s heart to make sure before signing the death certificate.
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Source: Baptist Press