The incredible story of an atheist scientist who believes in Catholic miracles.
Peering down the microscope, I saw a deadly leukaemia cell and decided that the patient whose blood I was examining must be dead. It was 1986, and I was reading a large stack of bone marrow samples "blind" without being told why.
The bone marrows told a story: the patient took chemotherapy, went into remission, then relapsed, had more treatment, and went into remission for a second time. Then the slides stopped.
Later I learned that she was still alive some seven years after her ordeal. The case was not a lawsuit. Instead it was being considered by the Vatican as a miracle in the dossier for canonization of Marie-Marguerite d'Youville. No saint had yet been born in Canada.
But the Vatican had already rejected the case as a miracle. Its experts argued that she had not had a first remission and a relapse; instead, they contended that the second round of treatment produced a first remission.
This seemingly subtle distinction was crucial. We speak of the medical possibility of cure in first remission, but not following a relapse. The experts in Rome agreed to reconsider their decision if a "blind" witness would examine the slides again and find what I had just seen.
My report was sent to Rome.
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