Head banner.
CCM Periodicals Reading Room   


The Doctor Who Prays for His Patients(II)

Dr. Vijayan Charles is an 81-year-old, recently-retired surgeon from India. He is a devout Christian who is known to have prayed for his patients every day throughout his entire career—48 years of medical practice. His faith in God has helped thousands of his patients to be healed—not only physically, but wholly, by reaching into their hearts as well. In an interview with Dr. Charles, I learned the key to the success of his long medical career, which he attributes to his faith in God and his praying for each of his patients. Dr. Charles shared with me stories of two patients: one who miraculously escaped death and another whose hemorrhaging was miraculously brought under control. Here is Dr. Charles’ narrative of Betty’s story:

The Story of Betty

Betty was a 50-year-old female patient who had needed an emergent surgery for over 20 years. I was the on-call surgeon the night she came into the hospital. We found that she had an acute perforation in her intestines. When I opened up her abdomen, there were masses of stool and pus everywhere, and she was in severe septic shock. Although I did a thorough clean-up of the pus and stool, she was in grave condition and was sent to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for further observation and medical management. Over the two ensuing weeks, her condition went from bad to worse. She needed a ventilator to help her breathe and was treated with antibiotics and vasopressors to support her blood pressure. During this time, she underwent two additional minor surgeries to further clean out the remaining pus in her abdomen. Even so, she was slowly experiencing multi-organ failure.

My wife and I prayed for Betty every morning and evening, knowing that she was miserably alone, with no one visiting her, and she had no medical insurance. Our hearts really went out to her.

A team of medical doctors with different specialties was called in to treat Betty’s multiple organ failure, but none of the treatments worked. She was in a coma for some time, not responding to any stimulus. Everyone could see that she was heading towards the door of death. Even with the blood pressure medication at the maximum dose, her blood pressure continued to fall, and her vital signs were critically weak.

Expecting her to die within 24 hours, all the attending physicians except me agreed to stop the supportive medications and let the disease claim her life. But something in my heart urged me not to give up yet and to give her one more chance. So, I suggested to the other team members that we wait one more day to see what would happen—just one more day! If she could not make it, then let it be. But if she made any improvement, she had a chance.

In my medical career, God had answered my prayers many times and given my patients a second chance of living. So, I was expecting that God would hear our prayers and give Betty a second chance of life, even though—under these conditions—complete recovery would be a miracle. But God is a merciful God, and He answers prayer. Of course, He has the authority to give life and to take life away. All I could do was to pray for His mercy.

That same night, my wife and I prayed for Betty even more urgently. We held hands and kneeled down to pray. The next day, when I came to the ICU, I was comforted to find that Betty had not died, and her vital signs were not worse. So, I asked the ICU attending physician to give her one more day for observation—and it turned out that she showed more improvement the following day and marked improvements on the third day! That was a surprise to everyone! I knew deep down in my heart that our eternal God had heard our prayers to heal Betty! My wife and I kept praying for her each day—some days multiple times.

One week later, Betty was able to breathe freely without the aid of a ventilator, and her blood pressure returned to normal! She was awake, could sit up in bed, and then was able to walk a few steps with assistance. Two weeks later, she was stable enough to be discharged from the ICU to the floor. Soon, she was able to walk out of the hospital on her own!

The day Betty was discharged from the ICU, I paid her a visit and introduced myself as her attending surgeon. She could not remember me and had no memory of what had happened to her in the preceding weeks. I told her that when she was at the brink of death two weeks earlier, my wife and I had prayed to God every day to have mercy on her and heal her. God had answered our prayers, first by stabilizing her, then by slowly improving her conditions. And now, she was a new person! No one looking at her would have believed that—just two weeks before—she had almost died!

Hearing this, Betty was astonished, speechless, and could not believe such a miracle had happened to her. I said: “Betty, I have one request. When you leave the hospital, will you go to a church to thank God for healing you?” and she said, “Yes.”

I had no occasion to follow up on Betty after her discharge from the ICU. But sometime later, I received a phone call from a famous Indian colleague of mine who had come to Washington, DC, wanting to visit me. Humoring me, he told me that, until now, he had not known that I was the best doctor in the Washington, DC, area, even though he knew I was the best student in my class in medical school in India and would be the best praying doctor for my patients!

I asked him how he knew of my reputation in DC. My friend told me that he got the news from a taxi driver who said that Dr. Charles was one of the best doctors in DC, that he prayed for his patients, and one of his patients was miraculously healed by God’s mercy, and that this patient’s name was Betty. He told my friend that one day Betty was riding in his taxi and told him all about her experience of escaping death—how Dr. Charles had prayed for her and that God had answered his prayer.

I was so happy to know that Betty was doing fine! This was the first I had heard of her since she was discharged from the hospital.

On another occasion, I was dining in a restaurant when a waitress came over to me and said: “Hello, Dr. Charles. You probably don’t recognize me, but do you remember a former patient of yours named Betty?”

“Of course, I remember Betty. Where is she now and how is she doing?” I asked the waitress earnestly.

“I am Betty!” the waitress smiled.

I looked at her intensely for a moment, and sure enough, it was Betty! I stood up and gave her a big hug. Then she told me the story of what had happened after she left the hospital. As she was walking along the street, she saw a church and remembered her promise to me to go to a church and thank God for His miraculous healing. So, she went in, prayed, and gave thanks to God. That was the first time she had been in a church since her childhood. But from then on, she went to church regularly, became a believer, and was baptized as a Christian. Her life had a new beginning. She would tell people about God’s power and mercy, how He answers prayers, and of course, about the doctor who prays for his patients.

I was thrilled to hear the story of Betty, happy for her physical strength, and even happier for her spiritual renewal. After such a long narrative, Dr. Charles paused, and I asked, “Does God always answer your prayers and grant what you wish?” He smiled and responded: “God always answers my prayers, but in different ways. Sometimes He grants my wishes, sometimes He doesn’t. I don’t know why He chooses to heal or not to heal. But He is the Lord; He gives life and takes away life. He knows what is best. My job is to pray on behalf of my patients and give Him thanks. So far, by God’s grace, in my past 48 years, none of my patients have died on the operating table!”

I was speechless. This humble white-haired gentleman, sitting in front of me with merciful eyes, is the famous, best doctor around DC! I was honored to have worked with him for some time in the operating room, providing anesthesia for his patients.

Then I made one more request of Dr. Charles: “Can you share another one of your many stories from your medical career with me before I go home?”

“Sure thing!” Dr. Charles replied with a big smile.

Then Mrs. Charles came in, bringing me a cup of hot aromatic tea.

Dr. Charles’ second story:

A Miraculous Hemorrhage Control

Several years ago, a 50-year-old male was scheduled to undergo a one-hour operation of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, i.e., removal of an inflamed gall bladder through an abdominal scope. Prior to the operation, he was in his usual state of health except for having gallstones. His lab results before surgery were almost normal except that his white blood cell count was slightly higher. During the operation, the gallbladder was removed, and I was about to close the abdomen. As I was inspecting the entire abdomen, I found that the liver was oozing. There were no identifiable bleeding focuses, but the oozing got heavier, soaking many gauze pads with blood. The patient then developed hypotension and required blood. A blood transfusion for a gallbladder removal was unheard of, as normally it is not a bleeding case. The one-hour surgery became two, three, then four hours—and still kept going. The patient’s estimated blood loss was over 1,500 mL, which required a transfusion of two units of packed red blood cells. Still, the patient continued to bleed.

I used every possible means to control the bleeding, but none worked. Stress, anxiety, and exhaustion built up in the operating room. We sent blood samples for lab tests, hoping to find the cause of the bleeding. Maybe the patient had some undiagnosed blood coagulation disorder or development of DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation). The lab results came back positive for anemia and normal coagulation. Puzzled by this, I knew one more thing I could do: pray! I told my surgical team that I needed to go to the next operating room to pray.

I took off my surgical gown and gloves and went into the operating room next door. I kneeled down and prayed to my Lord Jesus Christ. After several minutes, peace came over my heart, and I immediately knew the bleeding had stopped. Returning to the surgery table again, I put on my gloves and proclaimed to my team: “The bleeding has stopped.”

Everyone was amazed. “How do you know the bleeding has stopped?” my surgical technician asked.

“I prayed and that was my conviction. Now, please take away those gauze pads to see what has happened,” I instructed.

One piece of gauze was taken out, then another one, and another. When the last gauze pad was out, the liver surface looked smooth and shiny! There was no more bleeding!

“You just stepped out, prayed for a few minutes, and the bleeding stopped? That’s unheard of!” my assistant exclaimed.

“Believe it or not, it just happened,” I said calmly—to which my assistant pronounced, “This has to be a miracle!”

“God did indeed work a miracle. The situation was near disaster, the operation was late at night, and I had only a few staff helping me. If the bleeding had continued, the patient would have needed platelets, and our blood bank did not have a supply of platelets. With a hemorrhage that was ongoing, I could not just close the abdomen and send the patient to ICU, or the patient would die. God answered prayer and stopped the bleeding.”

This was an amazing story! In my short experience as an anesthesiologist, I knew full well what Dr. Charles meant. I had encountered many cases with uncontrolled internal bleeding, when the patient’s abdomen was packed with gauze, and they were sent to the ICU only to be sent back for further exploratory surgeries. Some patients died in the ICU from hemorrhaging.

I bade good night to Dr. and Mrs. Charles and headed home.

My heart was filled with wonder. I opened the car window, let the evening breeze blow on my face, and pondered.

Is God real? The answer is yes.

Is God alive, still sovereign? The answer is yes.

Does God answer prayer? Still, the answer is yes.

In our vast universe, the sun is just a dot, the earth just a small ball. On earth, mountains are just a few lines, and people are just specks of sand. And yet, the Creator God cares about us, His small creation, and even answers our prayers. His eyes see our every movement, His Spirit searches every thought of every soul. He gives and He takes. He bestows His blessing to earth and men!

Yet many people deny the existence of an omnipotent and omniscient God who works miracles! He uses modern medical knowledge and technology to heal, and He responds to prayers of faith. The exercise of faith in healing is a proven reality—not a myth!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord: As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9).

As I drove home, Dr. Charles’ words continued to echo in my ears: “As a medical doctor, I make it a habit to pray for my patients each morning before treating any of them. And before leaving the hospital to go home every evening, I thank God for His protection of all of them.”

Thank God for doctors like Dr. Charles who pray for their patients!

*Part II of an interview with Dr. Vijayan Charles, a medical doctor who prays for his patients, conducted by Dr. Lai Kwong Wong. This article was extracted from the April 2020 issue of Chinese Today and translated into English by Philip Yu, a violin teacher and retired educational consultant in Monroe, New Jersey.

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20210202
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Apr-Jun 2021. CCMUSA.