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January 13, 1975

... But There Are Always Miracles

Author Affiliations

St. John Fisher College Rochester, NY

JAMA. 1975;231(2):200-201. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240140056039

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Jack Willis didn't die from the freak surfing accident that broke his neck, but the neurosurgeons believed he would never walk again, that he might be a quadriplegic. Willis and his wife Mary, writing alternate chapters, record the painful, nearly intolerable hospitalization that restored him. With the elusive hope of "return" alternately sustaining them and making each day an eternity, Mary and Jack try to get through the weeks of waiting for return.

This is a book about the impact of a critical accident on two lives. The focus is on the hospital experience, narrowed to the hospital bed itself, to the tubes, the pain, the tedium, the resentment of feeling like a medical object instead of a human being. Jack worries about dependency, about ever working again. Mary hates the hospital's impersonal control over their lives. They are afraid of what the accident has done to their lives.