Some Awesome People

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Can a scientist believe in miracles?

Prof Jacalyn Duffin shaking hands with Pope John Paul II
Prof Jacalyn Duffin met Pope John Paul II
at the canonization of Marie-Marguerite d'Youville

Peering down the microscope, I saw a deadly leukaemia cell and decided that the patient whose blood I was examining must be dead. It was 1986, and I was reading a large stack of bone marrow samples "blind" without being told why.

Given the nasty diagnosis, I imagined that it must be for a lawsuit. Perhaps a grieving family was suing the doctor for a death that really could not have been helped.
The bone marrows told a story: the patient took chemotherapy, went into remission, then relapsed, had more treatment, and went into remission for a second time. Then the slides stopped.
Later I learned that she was still alive some seven years after her ordeal. The case was not a lawsuit. Instead it was being considered by the Vatican as a miracle in the dossier for canonization of Marie-Marguerite d'Youville. No saint had yet been born in Canada. (...)

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