Wednesday, April 06, 2005

When Jessica was in her final illness, we transferred from Fort Worth Children's Hospital to Dallas Children's Hospital. Dallas had her on the hopeless list and was talking with us about an experimental program that the doctor didn't think had any value. As soon as she had a lung biopsy they were going to talk the final details with us.

He then left us for the chaplain.

"The Chaplain" was doing a residency. He had his undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology and had discovered that his theology did not have an adequate way of dealing with the suffering that exists in the world and he was very bitter about that. So, as we waited to be told that our daughter was about to die and we could engage in one of two sorts of hopeless treatment, I did my best to console the chaplain sent to us.

After about fifteen minutes of discussion, he asked if we would mind letting him sit in as we were told our daughter was going to die, so he could see how we dealt with it. I apologized for saying no, but I did have it in me to further teach and aid him at that time.

Of course he was uninterested in any further contact with us that did not aid his needs and he did not return (nor did he respond to the letter I dropped him) when he discovered that the biopsy showed lung tissue in surprisingly good shape so that they immediately moved Jessica to ECMO where she remained until her death.

I should say that his supervisor was about as useful as the person she assigned to help us. But that was my close experience with graduate and post graduate education for ministers.


fMhLisa said...

Wow, just wow.

Anonymous said...

In our hospital stays, we met some . . . interesting . . . chaplains. But some have been marvelous. A chaplain at Portland sat with us for a few hours the night before our daughter died. He said mostly banalities, which were mostly just the right things to say. But mostly we just loved us. He had an enormous compassion.