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A Prayer For Doctors: Norman Cousins

Posted Dec 18 2010 8:06am

 

I pray that you will never allow your knowledge to get in the way of your relationship with your patients.  I pray that all the technological marvels at your command will not prevent you from practicing medicine out of a little black bag.

I pray that when you go into a patient’s room you will recognize that the main distance is not from the door to the bed but from the patient’s eyes to your own-and that the shortest distance between those two points is a horizontal straight line that works best when the physician bends low to the patient’s loneliness and fear and pain and the overwhelming sense of mortality that comes flooding up out of of the unknown, and when the physician’s hand on the patient’s shoulder or arm is a shelter against the darkness.

I pray that even as you attach the highest value to your science, you will never forget that it works best when combined with your art, and indeed, that your art is what is most enduring in your profession.  For, ultimately, it is the physician’s respect for the human soul that determines the worth of his science. 
 
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