Great Lakes, troubled waters

Signs of distress

It's a little after 4 p.m. when I hear my name paged at Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital. It's Lent 1971. I'm working as a student chaplain a few blocks west of Lake Michigan. Each day is a reminder that, even in the corridors of medicine's most prestigious cathedrals, death still reigns. A nurse from the intensive-care unit informs me that the parents of a six-week-old infant have telephoned to request that their daughter be baptized. She tells me that little Rebecca Ann, who was born with congenital abnormalities, has no more than a few hours to live. Due to bad weather and their own spiraling sense of helplessness, her parents have told the hospital that they will not be present.


This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.