Today's thought, delivered at BBC Radio Bristol:
As I heard of heart transplant patient Kevin Mashford cycling from Bristol to Newcastle another name popped into my head. Louis Washkansky. Followed by that of Dr Christiaan Barnard. Hidden in my mind, but stuck there by constant repetition. In 1967 Washkansky was given the world's first heart transplant; Barnard the surgeon.
Washkansky died after eighteen days. He knew the risks. Without the transplant the future for him was very bleak. Today the complex operation is relatively routine.
In one of the Nailsea churches I serve there are several wall memorials to children. One eighteenth century family lost three under fives, probably to illnesses simple treatment could today cure. I never cease to be grateful that I have survived chicken pox and measles to be here.
And I've been stitched up a couple of times without pain. Thank you anaesthesia.
We are blessed to live in a time of amazing medical progress.
From ancient times we have had a simple mantra that health is good and illness bad. The stories of the Bible, especially of Jesus, all show disease or death interrupting the action and having to be dealt with. Take up your mat and walk again.
The people then asked 'Who is this man? Sickness obeys him.' Astonishing.
Broadcaster Garrison Keillor always ended his Lake Wobegon monologues with this. 'Well, that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.'
It is not possible for all our hospitals to be above average. But we do well to note that all are getting steadily better, as indeed, are we.