SCOTT J. KOLBABA, M.D.
North Charleston, S.C., 2016. 225 pp., paper, $13.22.
Can surprising events occur that science can’t explain—events that could be called miracles? Before coming to a conclusion about this quandary, I suggest reading Physicians’ Untold Stories.
The book was written by Scott J. Kolbaba, an Illinois doctor specializing in internal medicine. Kolbaba, an occasional speaker at the TS headquarters in Wheaton, has been in the medical field for over thirty years. He has used his own experiences and those of other medical professionals to help reveal if there is more than medicine involved when it comes to healing patients.
Kolbaba interviewed twenty-six physicians about their unusual experiences that could not be medically explained. He transcribed his notes and then got together with each doctor to make sure that everything he had written was correct. Some patients agreed to having their names in the book. If they did not, he changed the names to protect their privacy. At the end of the book there is a short description of each doctor who collaborated in this project. The author gives their names, the type of medicine they practice, the schools they attended, and some funny anecdotes about their lives and personalities.
The book starts out with an introduction by the author, and the main part is divided into four main sections comprising short chapters. Each is a story in which the individual doctors described some of their unusual medical experiences and their impact. I found all of the stories to be heartwarming and would like to share a short synopsis of one from each section.
In part 1, entitled “Divine Intervention,” is a chapter called “Music in the Emergency Department.” An emergency-department patient clinically died in a hospital. He was revived through a heroic measure. When he was able to speak again, he said he wanted to return to the white room with unfamiliar instruments that played beautiful music, because it was so peaceful there. The emergency department did not play music. Conceivably he had returned from a near-death experience.
In part 2, “Death and the Afterlife,” the story “Grandma O’Hanlon” describes a woman in a hospital delivery room who was about to give birth to her fifth child. She was in a lot of pain. The patient’s grandmother, a midwife, walked into the room and informed the patient that she should not take the relaxing medicine offered. The patient pushed the mask away and refused anesthesia. Declining it prevented complications that could have taken her life. The family connection was still strong, even though her grandmother had died twenty-two years before.
In part 3, “Healing,” there is a story called “The Dream.” A general surgeon had a dream about a friend who was lying dead in a funeral-home casket because of an acute heart attack. The doctor called his friend and told him to get a physical. It was found that two of three main arteries of his heart were 90 percent blocked. The friend had cardiac bypass surgery and is doing well fifteen years later. His life was prolonged with positive results because of a precognitive dream.
In “The Morning Miracle,” a story in part 4, “Prayer,” a doctor recalled his high-school days when he played soccer and was kicked in his flank. He went to the hospital in excruciating pain. The doctor thought about removing the ruptured kidney if things did not get better. The patient was in pain from Tuesday to Friday. On Friday, the pain vanished. After he was able to return to school, a teacher told him that the faculty had prayed for him that Friday.
The book is easy to read and understand. No medical technical jargon is involved. It is not only for doctors but anyone interested in the medical field and the unusual things that can occur, including healing miracles. These stories can inspire a deeper understanding of mortality and the possibility of the existence of a higher power. It can arouse deep emotions and a tear or two from the reader.
Physicians’ Untold Stories is full of recollections of medical challenges, miraculous recoveries, and inspiration. It does not come to a conclusion about whether scientific or unexplained phenomena helped to resolve the medical dilemmas it describes. That is up to the reader.
Marie Otte is a writer, meditation teacher, and astrologer. Her work has appeared in Quest, DreamNetWork.net, and Satvidya.