Guest / Limited Access /

When Aaron Barg was three months old, a hernia left him in almost constant pain. Finding a surgeon who could repair the hernia was easy, say his parents, Steve and Susan Barg. But finding an anesthesiologist was almost impossible.

With a rare genetic disorder called Trisomy 13, Aaron was born with a weakened heart and lungs and an undeveloped brain, and he was deaf and legally blind. Doctors told the Bargs that Aaron would most likely die within a year. If he survived beyond that time frame, his life would have little quality—he'd never speak, walk, or feed himself.

For most anesthesiologists, the risk was too high. They felt any operation could kill Aaron.

Getting the medical community to regard Aaron as a person worth saving was a challenge. Susan Barg remembers that doctors didn't refer to him by name, but only "baby Barg." Though doctors commonly refer to even healthy babies this way, she found it symbolic of their attitude toward Aaron.

"He has a name," she would insist. "Please use it."

During a medical visit, Barg asked an anesthesiologist if he would like to hold Aaron. He did so for a full hour, and only then did he agree to assist in an operation. Since then, the anesthesiologist has helped in several more operations for Aaron.

"He holds Aaron, and he becomes a human being," Barg says. "Not a statistic, not a piece of medical research on a piece of paper—but a human being with a name who responds to touch and cuddling and love."

Now 13, Aaron is a handsome boy with blond hair and a face that lights up when someone he knows comes by. Bend down by his wheelchair and he'll pull your face close to his, stare deeply into your eyes, and stroke your face. Though he can't speak, his eyes and hands tell you that he ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Quotation Marks
Recent quotes on unborn children's pain, literary Jenkins, and Dan Brown's scruples.
Current IssuePreventative Play: Sesame Street and World Vision in Zambia
Subscriber Access Only Preventative Play: Sesame Street and World Vision in Zambia
A snapshot of Christian witness in the world (as it appeared in our July/August issue).
RecommendedAndy Crouch: Stop Engaging 'The Culture,' Because It Doesn't Exist
Subscriber Access Only Andy Crouch: Stop Engaging 'The Culture,' Because It Doesn't Exist
We should spend more time loving our flesh-and-blood neighbor.
TrendingDied: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Jerry B. Jenkins: 'Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul.'
Editor's PickIs There a Better Way to Fight 'Political Correctness'?
Is There a Better Way to Fight 'Political Correctness'?
When language is a tool for coercion, nobody wins.
Christianity Today
When Does Personhood Begin?
hide thisJuly July

In the Magazine

July 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.