Of trust and duty

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How a grave a responsibility is it to be a physician?

Surgeons, in many instances, meet for the first time patients they will perform surgery on the following day or two. The faith generated by those first few moments during the initial rapport must be so potent as to make a person place his/her life in the hands of a physician he/she barely knows.

This phenomenon of supreme trust and acquiescence has always overwhelmed my being and humbled my person whenever I see a patient on a cardiovascular surgery consultation. What other privilege accorded mortals in this world could even come close to this right and power bestowed upon us physicians?

To hold the life of a fellow human being in your hands and be the master of his/her fate only lucidly and indelibly underscores how we, physicians, must hold inviolate our Oath of Hippocrates. Being a physician, vested with the power to heal and, many times, over life and death situations, is indeed awesome, and a grave responsibility. To minimize the seriousness of our obligations to our patients is not only unethical and immoral but tantamount to irreverence.

As we minister to the sick each day, therefore, we, physicians, are ever-mindful that entrusted to our care are precious and priceless creations of God, whose profound faith in us alone is in itself deserving of no less than our very best.

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.