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In December 1994 David Cowles, a 40-year-old professor of English at Brigham Young University, contracted streptococcus A, probably through a small cut on his finger, while on a family vacation in California. As happens very rarely, the bacteria turned aggressive, causing necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-destroying disease that can spread rapidly and cause death. Husband and wife take turns telling the story of his devastating illness and slow recovery, with David describing the trauma of the disease and revealing some of his spiritual experiences, including a powerful vision of life after death. Delys, on the other hand, focuses on practical matters, such as concurrent family troubles, financial worries, and learning to manage media attention, which was at times intensive. As the bacteria spread through his body, David was given a five to ten percent chance of survival by his doctors, who performed surgery on him six times during his first week in the hospital. To the Cowleses, David's beating of these odds was clearly due to "the religious healing energy of many people from many religions praying for us." Skeptics might attribute David's survival to excellent medical and nursing care, powerful antibiotics, ready access to a hyperbaric chamber, proper surgical attention, and some very good luck. But it is not necessary to share the couple's belief in the special efficacy of multiple prayers to be heartened by their story of how friends, colleagues, family, church, and community rallied around them in their time of greatest need and to be moved by this plain telling of one man's brush with death.
File this TV-movie-of-the-week saga under Inspiration.