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People of Cessnock is a blog by local resident, Rebecca Murray. The project seeks to value the people of her home town by sharing their stories value and raising the profile of people living outside metropolitan areas.

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“I had a really hard, hard father who’d had a really hard life. And he made it his goal in life to toughen me up. It was sort of like a two-edged sword. It was painful to go through but it really helped me to be a good heart surgeon.

Anyway, I have to tell you about this story.

We operated on this nun from Lochinvar. At the time, I had no idea where Lochinvar was. Now I just live up the road from it. But I was in Sydney and she came down. It was before mobile phones and I had a pager but I’d left my pager in my locker and I’d run up to the ward and, this nun, she went back to the ICU and she’d ruptured her aorta.

It’s called a dissection. It can happen even on someone who hasn’t had surgery but when you’ve put sutures in the aorta it makes it – if you’ve got that tendency – it makes it more of a risk.

So she split. She bled out. She had no blood pressure for about 40 minutes.

I just thought, I’ll just go through the motions. I’ll put it all back together. And to my amazement the heart started up again and we were able to get her out into the ICU. But she never woke up.

3 weeks. She didn’t have a gag reflex. She didn’t move a muscle. She was seen by two neurologists who declared her brain dead. So they took everything out: breathing tube, lines, everything. Set her up in a private room in the ward on the Friday to let her die.

And I came in on the Monday and I said, “I suppose that nun went to heaven.” As expected.

And they said, “Oh, no. She’s up.”

The nuns from Lochinvar had come in and they’d prayed over her all weekend and she was fully functional again.

I fell back against the wall. I had to physically stop myself from sliding back down to the floor. I was absolutely flabbergasted. I turned around and said, “I don’t care what you believe, that was a dead set miracle.”

No one disagreed.”



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