Down the hall, the patient looked like Henry, had Henry's DNA, but was no longer Henry. All the Henry-ness of Henry's brain ceased to function. What was left was stuff that helped make up Henry.
About 40 hours into the vigil, a couple of doctors came to talk with Henry's wife. She came back into the ICU waiting room, dabbed her eye and said, "We're going for the miracles." It took me a second to register the final "s" in her sentence. Here we'd wanted *a* miracle; to get Henry back. But Henry's wife went for the plural.
Henry's heart was transplanted. Two people each got a kidney. Henry's eyes clear and cool and able to focus on what was good and what was true contributed new vision to someone else.
Miracles happen, not without controversy. Back when heart transplants were first getting started, and even today, those with personal qualms about organ transplantation wrestle with the concept of "brain dead" and a host of theological and moral conundrums. It's been going on for 40 years, a downright Biblical length of time.
Generally, though, most people recognize and accept that a human being without brain function is not fully human.
By this standard, an in vitro embryo seems a lot like my friend Henry. It contains the things that make human life, but it isn't human life. But it also contains the stuff miracles are made of.
Please, Missourians, vote for miracles.
Commentary by Joe Myers