Experience Description

Report by Ricardo Ojeda-Vera

I worked as an assistant to the head physician at a then well-known hospital at the Tegernsee in 1977-1978 after having completed my studies in England. This hospital was specialized in treating patients who suffered from terminal cancer. Those people did not, of course, visit the Tegernsee-area for its beautiful landscape, but because of our ability to help many of them with our experience and methods. We witnessed quite a few cases that orthodox medicine would consider as ‘spontaneous remissions.’ From our point of view, those remissions where not unexplainable since we had developed a method to bring about an apoptosis (willfully-induced cell-death) of cancerous cells. We treated many people there from all over the world.

I worked as the head physician’s assistant and was responsible for the coordination of the therapeutic procedures. Despite our staff being composed of a sufficient amount of members, it was very hard work we were confronted with there. The pressure was enormous. Many patients arrived there in a rather poor condition, and needed intensive medical care.

I inhabited an apartment in a small house in town, which was provided by the hospital I worked in.

One evening after work I sat at my desk and wrote a long letter to my mother in Caracas, which was written in Spanish, this being my mother’s tongue. I told her about the pressure at work and the state of mind I was in with regard to living in a foreign country. I also described the landscape around the Tegernsee.

The day after, I did the ward round with the head physician. I had to accompany him to all the different units because of my responsibilities for the coordination procedure. At each unit, we were joined by the ward physicians and head nurses. Thus, we went from bed to bed, from room to room, as usual.

In one of the rooms, there was a lady whose name I cannot remember anymore as thirty years have passed since then. She suffered from a mama carcinoma with metastasis in her lungs, liver, and bones. Only the head physician put questions to her, as usual. I did not talk to her. I had not talked to her much since her arrival.

We were just reading the reports on the laboratory values when she suddenly turned toward me and said, ‘The letter you wrote to your mother yesterday was beautiful.’ At first, I did not understand what she was talking about. Then I recalled the letter. All the people who were present witnessed her words as well and looked at me in surprise. I was very embarrassed because of this remark, for perhaps the doctors and nurses could have thought I used to show my private letters to the patients. I asked her what she meant by this and she replied, ‘Well, the letter you wrote to your mother yesterday.’ I asked her how she could know about this and she responded that she just knew. I would not continue this conversation in front of the other people in the room and told her that I would come back after the ward round. Afterwards a colleague asked me what she had talked about. I just did not know.

About two hours later, after the ward round, I asked her what she meant by referring to the letter. She responded that she sensed from what I had written how much I liked my mother and she described me in detail what I had written. I insisted on the question how she could know about all this and she told me that she had watched me from above, from the ceiling. I had written the letter at a desk and worn a green bath robe. I wanted to know if she could speak Spanish. She said that she did not speak Spanish, but she again accurately described what I had written. She described my pen, how everything was arranged on my desk, the writing pad which all exactly matched how it really was. She even could describe the Roman style of my chair.

I asked quite desperately, ‘How can this be possible?’ ‘I do not know, I have never experienced anything like that,’ she answered. I could not find an explanation and finished the conversation.

She died three days later.

I do not know why she ‘picked’ me. We had only exchanged a few words before. Maybe she had built an emotional relationship. That may be possible. Concerning myself, this was not the case, at least not before our conversation. She was just a patient among others. It is unusual in hospitals to allow for close relationships to patients for otherwise one risks suffering and thus, losing one’s objectivity and capacities.

I have reflected on this event, but since one year ago, I had not talked about it to anybody. I had other strange experiences with terminally ill people. I could not follow them up for I was so involved into oncology, which entirely filled me at this period in my life.

The experience I have described here is the most impressive one I ever had.