Below you will read another glaring example of our living faith and the strong presence of the saints in our lives. The cardiologist Dr. Vasilios Karogiannis testifies to us his moving experience and a great miracle of our great Holy Physician, Saint Panteleimon.
I will mention to you with precision one of the many medical miracles colleagues have experienced in their medical career without ever having them made public. It was the summer of 2000 or 2001, I’m not exactly sure which year, and I was on duty as an intern cardiologist at Sotiria Hospital. I always took the so-called German work hours of 3:00-6:00 AM. Though all internships took place during the summer, it was quite exhaustive. After 5:00 AM, however, no patient came in for an emergency. July 27th dawned and at 6:00 AM my summer vacation began. At 5:55 AM, though very tired I also was happy that I was starting my vacation, and I began to get my things ready to close the book of my internship and leave.
Then an incident came in with an ambulance stretcher. The driver of the ambulance told me it was a woman who was a cleaner at the neighboring Gennimatas Hospital, who had pain in her chest and asked to be transferred to our Hospital where I was interning to be examined by a cardiologist. He told the ambulance driver to put her in the intern room and I remember he reassured me saying: “Doctor, don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with her. She’s 45 years old. It’s probably neurovegetative.” Bringing the stretcher into the office the nurse called out for me: “Doctor, quickly. She’s having a cardiac arrest.”
I ran there and began resuscitation/defibrillation, rubbing, etc. for a long time, but the ECG of the patient was an isoelectric line, or a straight line, without the woman having heart, lung or brain function. She was essentially dead and nurses were preparing to transfer her to the mortuary. Deeply saddened for the young dead woman, in a flash I thought about the feast of Saint Panteleimon that was dawning, and I grabbed the defibrillator and supplicated within me: “Saint Panteleimon, you are a physician, today on your feast help this young woman.” Immediately I did the medical, and probably unnecessary, defibrillation while the dead woman was connected to the monitor without signs of life, and yet automatically there began to appear an EKG on the monitor and with an image of the anterior myocardial infarction.
Immediately the ambulance took her and brought her to the myocardial infarction unit. I want to note that the woman throughout the duration of our meeting never saw me because she was either in cardiac arrest or in a coma. Completely tired I left to go home and I erased the incident from my memory throughout the duration of my summer vacation. I returned to work on August 14th at 8:00 AM and when the morning shift nurses greeted me I suddenly remembered the incident. I asked if the patient from my internship, whose name I still don’t know to this day, is still alive, even if she was still hospitalized or discharged. They responded: “She’s leaving today and is in room so and so.” Without wearing a shirt I ran to the room they indicated. Without saying a word I saw a woman sitting on her bed eating her breakfast. As soon as she saw me her gaze lit up and she said to me: “I thank you for saving my life.” I then told her that it wasn’t me but someone else saved her. With tears in my eyes I showed her an icon on her bedside table.
It was Saint Panteleimon. Moved and agitated I left the room without saying another word. Even today I don’t know the name of the woman. This is a testimony of the living presence of our faith in God and our saints.