Most people are aware of the abundant difficulties an individual faces in choosing a career in medicine. Beyond the trials of seemingly endless years of schooling and residency, there are ethical issues. But the extent to which each individual is engulfed by ethical dilemmas is controlled by that person. Many, in the medical field, work very diligently in their positions, giving whole-heartedly of their care and skills. But too often, this selflessness is exhibited only during the workday.
Today, I will leave to attend a humanitarian conference organized by Jesuit schools. In preparation for this weekend, we were asked to read a book entitled "To Bear Witness," by Dr. Kevin M. Cahill. Dr. Cahill is a well-known physician, whose presence at the world’s natural disasters and catastrophic events of the past approximately half-century, have placed him in a position of international prestige and diplomatic power. His book explores the dichotomies of this world, a world in which millions of refugees, starving, and diseased people receive equal, if not less, media coverage than Hollywood celebrities finding unusual ways to spend their surplus of wealth and leisurely time. His writing raises questions. It also recognizes the profound responsibilities of the physician. The work of the physician is ceaseless, extending beyond the hours of call, the clinical rounds, and the consultations. His life is an example of always living in confrontation with ethical questions, never shying away from them, never leaving them in the office and retreating into the privacy of his home.
Being summoned to sites of earthquakes, drought, famine, revolution, massacres – every unimaginable horror that threatens our mortality – Dr. Cahill truly deserves the title of a “self-less individual.” It is inconceivable that one person could do so much. It is even more inconceivable to imagine how changed and charged this world would be if every person in medicine sought to manipulate the power and prestige awarded them through their medical title, to mitigate the world’s suffering as Dr. Cahill has. To end with a quote from his book, Dr. Cahill writes, “The trust accorded the physician may serve as one of the new bridges so desperately needed in our mutual efforts toward greater security and peace. In understanding and serving the dreams of the starving, we may find solutions – or at least approaches – where traditional methods have failed.”
Posted by: Maral | June 26, 2008 12:32 PM
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