medicine

Modern Anesthesiology Inspired By Story Of Adam & Eve!

TheDiscipleMD

Who could have guessed that the Old Testament could give an inspirational kick to the advancement of modern Anesthesiology. Yet, apparently it was, by verses found in the second chapter of Genesis.

“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” (Genesis 2:21-22)

You may ask, how could these verses be an inspiration to medical advancement. Well, according to the Bible,  Adam was put into a “deep sleep” by the Lord. And according to history:

“Sir James Young Simpson (1811-1870), pioneered modern anesthesiology through his discovery of “Chloroform” in 1847. He stated that his research was inspired by the “deep sleep” that Adam was put into.” (“America’s, God and Country, Encyclopedia of Quotations” by William J. Federer).

It appears that Dr. Simpson was intrigued by how the Lord accomplished the “deep sleep”. It is a funny thing, because prior to reading about Dr. Simpson, I had never given it a second thought. The Lord “caused” a deep sleep to come upon Adam, and that is that. But for inquisitive minds, that, is not always that! Reading about Dr. Simpson and his inquiring mind reminded me again of the importance of having such a mind; an “inquiring” mind. In an age where information is at our fingertips and explanations of every aliment and problem that besiege us are readily at hand, it is easy to develop a “lazy” mind.  It is even more deadly to develop “lazy” spiritually. Our spiritual minds need to be exercised. We need to be reading the inspired words of God. Who knows what will come out of it? Perhaps, like Sir Simpson, it will even be inspiration that can bless the world.

In order for our minds to be spiritually exercised, we need to read, think and ponder on the inspired words as recorded in the scriptures. Then we need to “experiment” on the word. (Alma 32:27). That is what Dr. Simpson did. He read the words in Genesis. Then:

“Dr Simpson and two of his friends, Doctors Keith and Duncan used to sit every evening in Dr Simpson’s dining room to try new chemicals to see if they had any anesthetic effect. On the 4th of November, 1847 they decided to try a ponderous material named chloroform that they had previously ignored. On inhaling the chemical they found that a general mood of cheer and humor had set in. But suddenly all of them collapsed only to regain consciousness the next morning. Simpson knew, as soon as he woke up, that he had found something that could be used as an anesthetic” (Wikipedia).

Perhaps we won’t discover something of historic importance, like Dr. Simpson, when we read the scriptures. Then again….! However, despite a distinguished career in medicine, Sir James Young Simpson concluded this:

“My greatest discovery is that I have a Savior”. (“Men of Science-Men of God”. Henry M. Morris, page 52). Sir Simpson got it right! And in the end, his greatest discovery should also be ours!

 

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Spiritual Gettysburg

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Several years ago I spent time with family on the battlefield of Gettysburg. There are many lessons to be learned from examining its history and resulting consequences. Of more interest to me were the personal stories of those that participated in that bloody battle. One such story is of a Confederate Colonel named Isaac Avery. On July 2, 1863, while on horseback, he led his troops in battle on East Cemetery Hill. There he was mortally wounded. Taken to a local farmhouse, he scribbled a note to his father that said, “Father, I died with my face to the enemy.” A final gesture to his father let him know that he, Isaac Avery, had been “faithful” to the end. I was moved and inspired by his words. No matter that he was on the wrong side of history. He wasn’t on the wrong side of living with honor! Isaac Avery’s words reminded me of an oft quoted scripture:

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”. ( 2 Tim. 4: 6-8).

These, of course, are the words of Paul, written to one of his missionary companions, Timothy.  Like the soldiers of Gettysburg, we too find ourselves in the thick of battle. In 1863 I am sure that they asked themselves, “How did I get in the middle of this”, and more importantly, “How do I get out alive?” Perhaps we have asked ourselves this same question when defending the principles of the gospel! Getting out alive is important, but getting out “with our face to the enemy” is of more significance. Running from the battle, as some do, will sometimes “get us out”, but it will not build enough character for us to be able to return home “with honor.”

The battle of Gettysburg, won by the Union, has gone down in history as the pivotal moment in the Civil War. Discouraged and battered, the Confederate Army withdrew from Pennsylvania and never recovered. Surrender followed within a couple of years and “freedom” was gained for all men. Today we are in the mist of the spiritual battle of “Gettysburg”. But the stakes are much higher!

We are at a pivotal time in history. We are in a battle as fierce as has ever been waged in the history of mankind. This, for the souls of men! Spiritual Gettysburg is upon us! And we are in the middle of the fight! I pray that all of us may say, at battle’s end, that we “have died with our face to the enemy.”

 

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What ‘Wilson’ Taught Me

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Have you ever felt alone? I mean really alone, with no one to talk to? I don’t know if I can say that I have experienced such a feeling but I know there are many that do. And while those with faith can rely on heavenly communication with Deity, there is something to be gained by interaction with another human.

We are into a season of great joy and celebration, but also one that can canker the soul of many who are elderly, rejected, or ill; be it mental or physical. All of us need the companionship of others. There is a reason God declared:

“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

He, of course, was referring both to men and women. It really isn’t good to be alone. All alone! In the movie “Castaway” the lead character is marooned alone on an island for four years. During that time he “creates” another person in the form of a volleyball. Using his blood he paints a face on his imaginary companion aptly named, “Wilson,” after the manufacturer. After four years of a ‘relationship’ with ‘Wilson’ he is unable to save him in the middle of his escape back to civilization. I must admit, that watching the lead character wail out, “I’m sorry Wilson,” when he is unable to save him as the volleyball floats away into the ocean brought me to tears. The pitiful nature of it all! The death of this imaginary friend struck such a chord in my heart as it is clear that none of us can survive this weary journey without the support of others.

As we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, let our Father’s words spoken to the first parents ring in our hearts;

“It is not good that the man should be alone…”

Let us look for those who need a friend, a visit, a lifting hand, a hug or embrace. As the Savior taught, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40

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The Thin Line Between Heaven And Here!

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A few weeks ago my wife and I visited the cemetery where my sister, brother and brother in-law are buried. It is always sobering to visit the graveside of a loved one. Once so alive and full of life, they now only read as names on a slab of marble or chunk of granite. I know them for who they were, and still are. So when I see their gravestone I don’t see the rock. I see their faces, their lives, and hear the laughter of their voices.To me they are still alive!

After taking time to visit our loved ones, my wife and I took some time to walk around and visit other graves. There, those that have lived became ‘less personal’ and were reduced to a graven image of a car, a horseback rider, a skier, a hunter, a housewife, or a Christian, depending upon what had been engraved upon the stone. There were faces of couples and poems and sayings galore, with flowers and varied assortment of things that decorated the sacred stones. The graves there held those who had lived to 100 to those who had lived less than a day. As I gazed about the land, filled with such monuments, I recalled the words of an ancient prophet, who upon seeing the destruction of his people,  cried out, “…behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return.”

I could not help but also think of my own mortality and that someday I would join all those buried before me. Indeed, every hundred years or so the earth takes back every body that walks upon it. If not for my faith and hope in Jesus Christ it would have been a depressing scene. Yet, as I stood there I felt neither fear nor emptiness because I knew that those I have loved have just taken a train to the next station. My faith in the resurrection as provided by the Savior brings such salve to the wound of my soul.

I am still here, with you, but as I stood there that day, I was as certain then as I am today, that there is a thin line between heaven and here, and crossing it is only a step away.

 

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