There’s a phrase that gets tossed around a lot in the media, one that skeptics and scientists love to hate (or perhaps, hate to love) – “scientists baffled.”
So when one of our “local” newrags, The Rankin Ledger (owned by the Clarion Ledger, owned by mega-news-corp Gannett), had a “medical miracle” story, I was reallllly hoping to see “doctors baffled.” No such luck, but I got “mystifies doctors,” though. Not quite the same, but the feeling is still there.
I am of course not trying to make light of the situation the kid is in. Obviously, “child stays within odds and gets good medical attention, survives” is not an attention-grabbing headline, but it is very much more in line with the truth. I somehow doubt the doctors at Arkansas Children’s Hospital are actually “mystified,” they likely understand that not knowing why something happened is not the same as a mystical violation of natural law. The disorder he is suffering from, Noncompaction Cardiomyopathy, is not especially well studied, and fairly rare. In such a case, “doctors baffled” is a good thing for the advancement of medical knowledge, if not so much so for the patient.
Christopher Pena (the child in question) is in one of the best hospitals in the nation and has a caring family. We should all be so fortunate.
Remember, just because something isn’t a miracle doesn’t mean it can’t inspire you. A story with insight into the doctors, techniques, equipment, and science behind the survival of a kid like Christopher – that would take something that the Rankin Ledger doesn’t have, and something that a guy behind a keyboard using google on his day off doesn’t really have access to, either.