Your Body Will Be Whole: Meditations on Heaven

During my surgical training, I helped care for an aging professor who bemoaned his declining health. His mind still moved in academic circles, pondering the high points of chemistry and physics, but arthritis had so fused the bones in his neck that he couldn’t nestle into a pillow anymore. Cancer riddled his chest, and squandered nutrients, until his frame wasted to skeletal proportions. The simple routine of enjoying a meal pitched him into coughing, and pneumonia festered from the secretions that pooled in his lungs.

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Medical Errors and the Gift of Grace

In a conclusion to a case that has gripped the nation, on May 13, 2022 a judge in Tennessee sentenced former nurse RaDonda Vaught to three years’ probation with a judicial diversion, rather than a maximum sentence of 8 years in prison, for clinically negligent homicide.

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Waiting for the Lord in a Hospital Corridor

“Oh please, no more!” she cried. “You said I could go home, and now you’re saying I can’t. You’re a liar!”

She dropped her gaze, and fiddled with the bag, green with bile, that peaked from beneath her gown. She’d been in the hospital for three months, had seen few visitors and had been away from home for so long she couldn’t recall the state of her kitchen table. One day ago, my surgical team had assured her that her long, arduous course was finally ending and she could go home. Then, without warning, we’d rescinded our promise.

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Gospel Hope in Burnout

As the medical system groans beneath the burden of the pandemic, conversations have appropriately turned to burnout among healthcare professionals. Most dialogues point to external systems, e.g., the shrinking workforce, limited supplies and political contentions over vaccines. While these forces exert significant influence, and indeed pose a crisis in many parts of the U.S., deeper and more personal dynamics are at play.

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