Science and Faith by Martin Green.
Dr. Gilroy hated to lose a patient and he hated even more giving the bad news to the patients family.
Tom Baker was a 50-year old man with pancreatic cancer. The cancer had spread rapidly and there was nothing, or almost nothing, that could be done about it. The doctor went out into the waiting room, where Bakers wife was sitting. She was with another woman, slightly older and in a nuns habit. Mrs. Baker was normally a pleasant-faced woman, but her red-rimmed eyes and haggard look showed the strain she was under. The other woman, by contrast, looked serene.
How is he, doctor? asked Mrs. Baker, immediately springing to her feet.
Dr. Gilroy hesitated, looking questioningly at the other woman. Oh, this is my sister Christine. Shes come all the way from Africa to give me support. The nun also stood up.
Oh, I see. Well, Im afraid I dont have good news. Mrs. Baker, your husbands cancer has metastasized. Im afraid theres not much we can do for him.
Cant you try chemo or radiation?
No, its too late for that.
Mrs. Bakers face crumpled.
There is one thing. Weve been working on a new type of medication. Its rather complex, but it comes out of our stem cell research program. Understand, its strictly experimental and it may actually advance your husbands cancer. But with your permission, I can try it.
Have you ever tried it before?
No, this will be the first case.
Mrs. Baker looked at her sister, who nodded. All right. Go ahead and do it.
Science can do wonders, you know. This might be a breakthrough. Ill get the papers for you to sign. He looked at Mrs. Bakers sister. Im glad youre in favor of it.
You must do everything possible. Ive been praying for Tom and Ill continue to do so. Faith can also accomplish wonders.
* * *
Its a miracle, said Mrs. Baker.
Dr. Gilroy smiled. Not really, he said. Your husband responded well to our experimental medicine. Well continue to refine it, but I have high hopes we may have finally found a cure. By the way, I dont see your sister with you.
She had to return to her mission in Africa. She thinks that it was her prayers that saved Tom.
Dr. Gilroy smiled again. Thats understandable. Lets say that they couldnt hurt.
* * *
As elated as hed been after Tom Bakers full recovery, Dr. Gilroy was now dejected. Once again, the new medicine which hed thought heralded a breakthrough had failed and once again hed be giving the bad news to a patients family. After the first failure, hed thought that it was because that individual, for some reason, was not receptive. But now hed had half a dozen failures. It was clear that they had a lot more work to do. He thought back to Tom Baker and the nuns conviction. Well, Baker had been his one success. Hed have to give some thought to the power of prayer...
* * * *
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