November 27, 2010

Power of the Catholic Witness Part 2

Since my previous post on The Power of the Catholic Witness, the Lord has continued to show me how important it can truly be.  As a pro-life Catholic, one of the rotations I have been most concerned about in regards to ethical and moral dilemmas has been OB/GYN.  There are so many opportunities to find yourself in a difficult position.  And this is exactly where I found myself on my first shift of Labor and Delivery.
To begin my rotation, I have been working nights doing labor and delivery.  The first night was quite slow with no active labors occurring.  Many of the patients were high risk pregnancies for which we were trying to stop labor or simply monitor the health of the baby and mother.  However, there was one case of a mother who was 36wks and having strong contractions and after monitoring the baby, it was determined that a cesarean section would need to be performed that night.  I had been following this women since her arrival and so I was also expected to scrub in for the section.  It as around midnight as we were coming to the decision to perform a section and it was brought to our attention that the women was requesting a tubal ligation.  Once I heard that this was the case and that the doctors were going to do the tubal with the c-section, I went to my senior resident to inform her that I would be stepping out at that point of the procedure.  She was completely fine with that. (In fact, it was the ER intern rotating on OB that was more confused as to why I would be needing to step out…)  However, there was a slight change of plans when the issue of consent came up.  The patient was adamant that she had signed the consent form in the office. And so the attending physician looked throughout her chart for this form with no success.  She must have flipped through the chart three or four times looking for any indication that a tubal ligation had been discussed.  However, in the end there was no indication that this had been discussed or a consent form signed.  The final decision was that they would not be able to perform the tubal at that time because proper consent could not be obtained.  
I was pleasantly surprised that this procedure would at least be delayed.  And perhaps the Lord would have the opportunity to change this woman’s heart in the future as well.  In my own case, I felt the graces of God working because he had given me the strength to be clear with my resident about being unable to assist in this procedure and had provided me with a resident who had an open heart.  But that is not all!
The c-section proceeded and a healthy baby boy was born.  During the course of scrubbing in I had the opportunity to chat with one of the other residents who had mentioned she had worked with a Catholic doctor who is now doing a fellowship in NaPro technology in Omaha.  I had known this doctor when she was here in Toledo and so we had a chance to chat about Natural Family Planning and NaPro, as well as kids in general (both the resident I was working with and myself had a child of similar age).  It was a great conversation that occurred because of this other Catholic OB/GYN’s witness to life and the Catholic faith.  
After the c-section we went to the recovery room and as I sat down at the nurses station to do some paperwork, and as I looked in front of me at the desk, there was a decade rosary hanging on a hook.  And I realized that the Lord’s hand had been moving in all of the events this evening.  I just stopped what I was doing, and silently prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for all that He had done for me that day.
Wherever we turn, the Lord is there.  In this Advent season, let us work harder in trusting in Him.  I had to step out of my comfort zone and face the dilemma that was before me, and when I had done what the Lord desired, he made everything go smoothly.  I realize this is not always the case, but in every situation we are in, we can turn to Him and know that whatever happens, the Lord is walking right beside us.  The hardships and sufferings we endure are all to draw us closer to Him and to bring about the conversion of hearts of those around us.
This Advent, let us continue to pray for greater faithfulness to the Lord and that those around us will be touched by a witness of love for the Lord.
Deo Gratias!

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