From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
(Luke 12:48, NIV)
Being a physician is more than just a job: It is a way of life. It is humbling when one realizes the incredible privilege it is to be a physician. People allow us to enter their most private places– emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Along the way, we often take that trust for granted.
Eva came to me last year seeking my advice and treatment for weight loss. When she started talking, it was easy to see that the system of medicine had not treated her well. Years before, while complaining of intractable back pain, she was given a prescription for Methadone. When that medication didn’t suffice, she was given Oxy IR. Of course, with the depression that ensued, she was put on Effexor XR. One day, she went to the doctor complaining of burning in her feet. She was quickly treated with Neurontin. She then started to become fatigued and was treated with Welbutrin SR. Her story is an example of the life of a patient in this day and age, when medicines are made for any type of ailment.
On subsequent visits, we began to share experiences from our lives. One particular visit stands out in my mind. On this day she began to cry, frustrated with her life and the decisions she had made. She had sacrificed decades of her life to a man who was unfaithful and, as a result, she felt that she was a nobody. I quickly reminded her of her three children– who she had often reared on her own–and how they loved and respected her. I reminded her of their successful careers and how blessed they were to maintain their connections with God after all this time.
I assured her that I would immediately give up all that I am for the security of knowing that my children would grow up to be like hers. We both had tears as we prayed. That day, Eva became a new person. It wasn’t her treatments or her medicines (which we had mostly taken away) that changed her: It was the power of God. I was blessed that God had given me the opportunity to make a difference in her life.
With the great power that is ours to change a patient’s life– for good or for bad–also comes great responsibility. We must always remember that God gave us the talent to become doctors and bless others. Our experiences and our choices will mold us into the physicians and characters that we will become. May God give us the humility and the wisdom not only to be great physicians, but to be great Christians as we fulfill His great commission.
– Andrew Oswari, LLUSM class of 1997