As a Doctor, I Doubted

    “As a Doctor, I Doubted,” Ensign, Aug. 1977, 58

    As a Doctor, I Doubted

    Several years ago I was called to the Primary Children’s Medical Center to see a nine-year-old boy who, three days earlier, had complained to his parents of a headache and of not feeling well. They had noted that his little body was hot; he had a fever. For three days they had watched and waited, hoping he would recover, but he became increasingly ill. On the day he was brought to the hospital he had lapsed into unconsciousness, and the family realized for the first time how seriously ill he really was.

    At the hospital he was examined by the doctors. The laboratory tests and the X rays were done. Then, because bacterial or spinal meningitis was suspected, a little needle was put into his back to obtain a sample of spinal fluid for an examination. As that fluid came out through the hollow hub of the needle, instead of being crystal clear like spring water, it was cloudy. When the fluid was examined under the microscope, one could see the pus cells and the bacteria. Yes, indeed, he was critically ill with bacterial meningitis.

    That evening as I left that little boy in his room—unconscious, blood pressure falling, intravenous fluids with massive doses of penicillin started, I had serious doubts that he would survive. I had doubts, if he did survive, that he would ever be normal.

    Walking down the hall, I met the little boy’s mother and father. The father said, “Doctor Mason, will you assist us in administering to our boy?” So we returned to the room, where the father and I exercised our priesthood in behalf of the little fellow. The father anointed his son and then asked me if I would seal the anointing and give a blessing.

    As we laid our hands upon that little boy, the Spirit whispered to me, “Promise him he will recover. Promise him he’ll have no aftereffects from this infection.” And so, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood that I hold, I promised the boy that he would be healed and that he would have no aftereffects.

    As I left the room the second time that evening (even though earlier I had had grave doubts), after that manifestation of the Spirit I had an assurance that was much stronger than that of medical science or previous experience. I knew that he would live. And indeed he did. His recovery was uneventful and complete.

    • James O. Mason, director of laboratories, Utah Division of Health, is bishop of the Ensign Fifth Ward, Salt Lake Ensign Stake. This is taken from an address at Brigham Young University.