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Resuscitating compassion

"Resuscitating compassion" Continued...

Issue: "The wonder of life," Jan. 25, 2014

As they continued waiting for the 23-week preemie to arrive, West thought back to the role baby Michelle played in starting to show him his need for compassion. He now knew that he should have talked with the mother of the baby he’d brought back to life: “It’s outrageous that I didn’t go back and talk to her. It didn’t occur to me. … I could have done her some good that day, that month. I could have done her some good in three months, because she was still down there. It never even crossed my mind to do anything good for her.” 

Charles and Kathy Sanders, and their daughter Michelle Fulton, consider it a miracle that West was in the newborn nursery that day and not at the hospital staff meeting. Until the reunion this year, Fulton’s parents didn’t know their baby had stopped breathing before being brought back to life by a doctor who happened to be where he wasn’t supposed to be. They see West as a hero, but he says he was a jerk who now realizes “I’ve been forgiven a lot that I didn’t even understand about or know about. I hadn’t appreciated the extent to which I had been forgiven.” 

West is grateful for “the infusion of compassion that I’ve received in my life before it was too late.” He now sees how, back in 1976, the doctor saved the baby, and the baby began the process of saving the doctor, just the way God had it planned.

—Dick Peterson is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute’s mid-career course

Dick Peterson
Dick Peterson

Dick lives in Summerville, S.C., is a former newspaper reporter and editor, and is now a freelance writer and caregiver for his wife with multiple sclerosis.

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