Elisabeth Jernigan is the beloved daughter of Betsy and Lennie Jernigan of North Carolina, USA. When she was just months old Elisabeth’s parents noticed her right eyelid weaken, then droop and the pupil become fixed. Her grandfather, a Harvard University trained surgeon was worried, and advised her parents to take Elisabeth to an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist sent them to a pediatrician and the pediatrician to a neurologist. Elisabeth was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Exploratory surgery removed part of the tumour from the nerve that controls the right eye, but it was too dangerous to try and take it all. Then the pathology report came back with the worst news of all. Elisabeth had an extremely rare malignant meningioma which had killed everyone who had ever had it. The prognosis was for continued growth of the tumour, paralysis and certain death.
Elisabeth’s parents, Betsy and Leonard started praying, their friends prayed, their church prayed. They prayed that Elisabeth might be healed, but also for the ability to accept her death if healing was not God’s will. Elisabeth’s surgeon grandfather didn’t have the faith to pray for healing, but he did pray for wisdom in selecting doctors, and the ability to get through the inevitable suffering.
Elisabeth’s condition deteriorated as expected. Fluid began accumulating on her brain, with the doctors repeatedly relieving it with a large needle. Elisabeth grew lethargic and nauseated. It was agreed that there be further surgery, to insert shunts that would drain the fluid.
Prior to the surgery the family gathered around Elisabeth while the priest from her grandparents church anointed Elisabeth with oil and prayed for her healing. It was now the night before the scheduled surgery. A doctor arrived in Elisabeth’s room and removed so much thick, infected fluid from her brain that he asked that the operation be postponed for a couple of days. But 12 hours later when he returned he was baffled to find there was virtually no more fluid.
When the surgery went ahead the doctor’s decided to make a last ditch effort to remove the rest of the tumour. They would remove the section of nerve the cancer had invaded. This would leave Elisabeth blind in her right eye but would give her a slim hope of survival. But when they went into Elisabeth’s brain they couldn’t find the lesion. They removed the nerve section as planned, but when the pathology tests on it came back they reported there were no cancer cells. Regular cat scans since then have revealed no evidence of a tumour.
Doctors describe what happened as “spontaneous resolution.” Elisabeth’s family call it a Miracle. In June 1995 Elisabeth turned 13. Elisabeth’s father Lennie, says “In the years ahead if you happen to see a young girl walking down the street with her right eye permanently closed, please don’t think that some tragedy has befallen her and extend your sympathy. Instead have cheerful thoughts, knowing that the Holy Spirit dwells in her, and our God is powerful, benevolent and magnificent.”
Source: Reported in Time magazine, April 10, 1995. Volume 145, No 15.