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Pectoriloquy |

Miracle Baby FREE TO VIEW

James Michael Berry, MD
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Editor’s Note:The author writes, “I am a senior anesthesiologist and Division Chief overseeing 50 operating suites in a large academic medical center. Over the years (and about 50,000 anesthetics), I have witnessed many emergency thoracotomies for trauma and never seen an actual long-term, intact survivor, until recently... This patient presented for unrelated surgery and inspired me to share not only his history but his personality. It brings out the hope that we all share when in desperate clinical situations - that there is still some chance of life.”

1The chisel, used with a hammer for sternal transection in anterolateral thoracotomy

Editor’s note for authors of submissions to Pectoriloquy:Poems should not exceed 350 words, should not have been previously published, and should be related to concerns of physicians and medicine. First submissions to the Pectoriloquy Section should be submitted via e-mail to poetrychest@aol.com. Authors of accepted poems will be asked to submit the final version to CHEST Manuscript Central.

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2015;147(2):583. doi:10.1378/chest.14-1760
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Published online

“You should be dead,” I thought to myself
  Slowly regaining my breath
 Truly shocked by what I had found
  In preop on seeing his chest
 He’d lived hard – like me, but older
   (not wiser) in experience
 Midline scar from a stab, old trach
   Tattoos of overindulgence
  And the keloid from left to right
  Past the sternal depression
   From his ER thoracotomy and
     Pericardial decompression…
Does he have any grasp of his membership
   In the Order of the Lebsche Knife1
  The mark of those born-again
   Restored from a fast-ebbing life?
   Does he kneel every day in penance
   To atone – pray, sing, and dance
   For miraculous reanimation
   And impossible second chance?
So I ask, “Do you know how it happened?”
   A tale of betrayal and strife?
  Says he, “Big deal, I got stabbed,
  “Not the worst day of my life…”


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