Grave Resonsibility-Birds

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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.

Are We, Humans, Really Civilize?
(Or, are humans for the birds?)

I was driving to work one morning and noticed some Canada geese flying against a beautiful backdrop of the rising sun. The picturesque scene was even more poignant as I observed that they were flying in a horizontal V-formation. One seems to be the leader of the pack, at the very apex, and the rest, in an orderly fashion followed in a V-formation. At one point, another goose flew ahead and assumed the "leadership" at the apex of the V. When the the "leader" gets tired, another flew to the apex, the former "leader" goes behind the flank. They seem to each take turn. Everything was smooth and easy flying, and quite orderly.

The reason came back to me as I recalled a book I once read. Birds, in general, have the instinct to know that the wind they fly against offers most aerodynamic resistance if they fly alone or on a straight line. Flying in a V-formation makes it a lot easier for the others behind to fly. The "leader" at the apex gets the most wind resistance, and less and lesser for those behind, who are covered by the birds infront of them, and so on down the line in their V-formation. When the bird at the apex gets tired, it goes behind another bird, and another bird flies to the apex to shield the rest from the strong wind resistance. And all of these take place in an orderly fashion, no bickering, no pushing, no wrangling.

How I wish we, humans, self-proclaimed the most civilized and most intelligent of all creatures on this planet earth, would be as "civilized, compassionate, considerate, and orderly"` as these birds. Imagine how wonderful it would be if we, brothers and sisters of the world, would stop figthing, hurting, destroying and killing each other, and instead, understand, emphatize, accept, help and protect each other like these flying creatures of God. What a wonderful world it would be!

Obviously, it will not be easy, as the history of man reveals. But human beings better try and start soon, even a little bit each decade or century, before we blow each other up, together with Mother Earth, into particles of historical ashes in the galaxy.

Here's wishing you and your family good health, peace and prosperity in this new millennium.

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.