The Handicapped Baby

The Handicapped Baby

The young doctor had just helped deliver a baby. What he saw troubled him. the baby was extremely weak and sickly. Even at first glance the doctor could see that one leg and foot were terribly deformed. The family were already poverty stricken. How could they possibly cope with this new burden?

The baby was having great difficulty breathing. He was so close to death that he hadn’t even cried. Without immediate assistance death was inevitable. The doctor found himself thinking: Would it not be a mercy to allow the baby to die? What chance would a little handicapped boy in a poverty stricken family have? How could the family possibly cope with this extra burden? Would he be the victim of jeering and stigmatization because of his handicap?

These thoughts flashed across his mind. However he had also found himself thinking of the Hippocratic oath he had taken as a doctor with its pledge to uphold life. He felt for the little handicapped baby and the suffering it might face in life. He felt for the poverty stricken family and the new burden they might now face. But, as a doctor, his calling was to protect life, not to extinguish it.

Placing the future into God’s hands, he started blowing into the tiny baby’s mouth to resuscitate it. Soon the baby’s lungs began to function and he gave his first cry. Years passed, and then terrible tragedy struck the doctor’s own family with his daughter and son-in-law being killed in a car crash. Their ten ear old daughter was left an orphan, so the doctor and his wife, being the grandparents took her in.

Further misfortune struck. The little girl became ill – suffering from a very rare illness that left her paralysed. Hitherto this illness was incurable but they learned that there was a young doctor in Montana who was getting excellent results in a new treatment that he had developed for this illness. The old doctor knew Montana well – it was where he had practised as a young doctor. So he took the granddaughter to see the young specialist.

The first thing he noticed was that the specialist had a severe limp. There was something else about him too that started to stir memories – the name, a certain resemblance to someone he had once known, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Meanwhile the granddaughter responded to the treatment. Soon she was back to full health. The old doctor experienced a great sense of gratitude to the young specialist. One day he got talking to him – and then discovered who he really was – the little handicapped baby that he had been tempted to let die.

Being limited physically because of his deformed leg, the boy had put all his energies into study and had won his way to the top in medicine scholarships. Because of his own condition, he had specialised in crippling diseases and he had found the cure for this one. Now he had just rescued from a hitherto incurable illness, the granddaughter of the very doctor who had saved his own life immediately after birth.

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