Toby asks Dr. Chen what she's doing there. Dr. Chen starts to say that they performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Toby: "This isn't happening." Hoebuck points out that Duke is non-sectarian and Dr. Chen is agnostic. Toby: "Huh." Hoebuck says that out of a thousand heart patients in the CCU, half were prayed for by volunteers; the other half weren't. Dr. Chen says she know it sounds crazy, but the patients that were prayed for had 11 percent fewer heart attacks and strokes and far fewer complications. Hoebuck that there have been more than a dozen such studies. Toby asks if any of them were published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Hoebuck asks for $115,000 for a wider study by the NIH, in exchange for a yea vote on a $17 billion foreign aid bill. He and Dr. Chen leave. I'm quite fascinated by the concept of intercessory prayer, but the problem is that there's absolutely no way to know that the people in the un-prayed-for groups are not, in fact, being prayed for. Just because the volunteers aren't praying for those people doesn't mean nobody else is. And even if you could secure the cooperation of absolutely everyone known to any given patient, and they agreed not to pray for their loved one, you still couldn't know that someone else isn't praying for that patient. I've prayed for people whose names I don't even know, people I barely know of (for example, a woman my husband knows in passing wrote to several colleagues before Christmas, when her daughter gave birth to a baby with birth defects, asking people to pray. I've never met this woman or her daughter, much less the baby in question, but I still prayed for the baby's health). Much as I would like to be able to prove that intercessory prayer works, I think it's impossible. There's no way to compensate for the unknown factors. I think the most that can be hoped for is to show that intercessory prayer doesn't hurt and might help.
Donna arrives at the airport, looking for Hardin. She finds Ellen, Hardin's assistant. Ellen pretends to be pleased to see Donna. Donna asks where Hardin is. Ellen plays dumb. Donna says she was supposed to be on Delta 15, but wasn't. Nor was she on two other flights that came out of Atlanta. Ellen says she came in this morning. Donna explains that she's trying to arrange a call to the Senator. Ellen lies through her teeth, saying she's not sure where Hardin is right now, but as soon as she tracks her down she'll set it up. Donna thanks her and walks away; as she does, she notices a guy collecting file boxes from the luggage carousel. She approaches a passenger with an envelope under his arm and says, "Sir? Excuse me, My name is Donna and if you look at me I think you'll know I'm not going to steal from you or waste your time in any way. Can I borrow that envelope for just one moment?" Trusting Guy readily agrees. Well, that was certainly a lot easier than convincing Christian Slater to trade votes with her. Frankly, I don't care how trustworthy her farm-girl ass looks, I wouldn't let a stranger in an airport take any of my belongings and then give them back to me. She grabs it and zips over to the guy at the luggage carousel and says, "Excuse me, is it Rick?" Carousel Guy: "Jason." Donna: "Jason! I'm sorry, I'm new. This needs to get to the Senator. Are you going in the car to Dirksen?" Jason says he's going to Dirksen, but the Senator's at the Women in Media luncheon. Donna: "Right! Stupid, stupid. Thank you." She walks away, and gives the envelope back to Trusting Guy.