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Thread: Daily Prayer Of A Physician

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    Default Daily Prayer Of A Physician

    Attributed to Moses Maimonides, a twelth-century Jewish physician in Egypt, but probably written by Marcus Herz, a German physician, pupil of Immanual Kant, and physician to Moses Mendelssohn. First appeared in print in 1793.



    Almighty God, Thou has created the human body with infinite wisdom. Ten thousand times ten thousand organs hast Thou combined in it that act unceasingly and harmoniously to preserve the whole in all its beauty the body which is the envelope of the immortal soul. They are ever acting in perfect order, agreement and accord.

    Yet, when the frailty of matter or the unbridling of passions deranges this order or interrupts this accord, then forces clash and the body crumbles into the primal dust from which it came. Thou sendest to man diseases as beneficent messengers to foretell approaching danger and to urge him to avert it.

    Thou has blest Thine earth, Thy rivers and Thy mountains with healing substances; they enable Thy creatures to alleviate their sufferings and to heal their illnesses. Thou hast endowed man with the wisdom to relieve the suffering of his brother, to recognize his disorders, to extract the healing substances, to discover their powers and to prepare and to apply them to suit every ill. In Thine Eternal Providence Thou hast chosen me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures. I am now about to apply myself to the duties of my profession.

    Support me, Almighty God, in these great labors that they may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed.

    Inspire me with love for my art and for Thy creatures. Do not allow thirst for profit, ambition for renown and admiration, to interfere with my profession, for these are the enemies of truth and of love for mankind and they can lead astray in the great task of attending to the welfare of Thy creatures. Preserve the strength of my body and of my soul that they ever be ready to cheerfully help and support rich and poor, good and bad, enemy as well as friend. In the sufferer let me see only the human being. Illumine my mind that it recognize what presents itself and that it may comprehend what is absent or hidden. Let it not fail to see what is visible, but do not permit it to arrogate to itself the power to see what cannot be seen, for delicate and indefinite are the bounds of the great art of caring for the lives and health of Thy creatures. Let me never be absent-minded. May no strange thoughts divert my attention at the bedside of the sick, or disturb my mind in its silent labors, for great and sacred are the thoughtful deliberations required to preserve the lives and health of Thy creatures.

    Grant that my patients have confidence in me and my art and follow my directions and my counsel. Remove from their midst all charlatans and the whole host of officious relatives and know-all nurses, cruel people who arrogantly frustrate the wisest purposes of our art and often lead Thy creatures to their death.

    Should those who are wiser than I wish to improve and instruct me, let my soul gratefully follow their guidance; for vast is the extent of our art. Should conceited fools, however, censure me, then let love for my profession steel me against them, so that I remain steadfast without regard for age, for reputation, or for honor, because surrender would bring to Thy creatures sickness and death.

    Imbue my soul with gentleness and calmness when older colleagues, proud of their age, wish to displace me or to scorn me or disdainfully to teach me. May even this be of advantage to me, for they know many things of which I am ignorant, but let not their arrogance give me pain. For they are old and old age is not master of the passions. I also hope to attain old age upon this earth, before Thee, Almighty God!

    Let me be contented in everything except in the great science of my profession. Never allow the thought to arise in me that I have attained to sufficient knowledge, but vouchsafe to me the strength, the leisure and the ambition ever to extend my knowledge. For art is great, but the mind of man is ever expanding.

    Almighty God! Thou hast chosen me in Thy mercy to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures. I now apply myself to my profession. Support me in this great task so that it may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed.

    Translated by Harry Friedenwald.

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    A Physician's Prayer

    Lord, Thou Great Physician, I kneel before Thee.

    Since every good and perfect gift must come from Thee:

    I Pray Give skill to my hand, clear vision to my mind, kindness and sympathy to my heart.

    Give me singleness of purpose, strength to lift at least a part of the burden of my suffering fellow men, and a true realization of the rare privilege that is mine. Take from my heart all guile and worldliness, that with the simple faith of a child I may rely on Thee.

    Amen

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    The physician's prayer

    From inability to let well alone, from too much zeal for the new and contempt for what is old, from putting knowledge before wisdom, science before art and cleverness before common sense, from treating patients as cases and from making the cure of the disease more grievous than the endurance of the same, good Lord deliver us.

    Sir Robert Hutchison (1871-1960).

    From Favourite Prayers compiled by Deborah Cassidi; Cassell, 1998; ISBN 0304 70315 X, price £9.99.

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    The Oath of Amatus
    by Amatus Lusitanus (1511-1568)

    From "Jews and Medicine, Religion, Culture, and Science" (Jewish Publication Society). Also Aaron J. Feingold, M.D. from this book Three Jewish Physicians of the Renaissance. The Marriage of Science, and Ethics. Copyright 1994 by the American Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth.

    "I swear by God the Almighty and Eternal (and by His most holy Ten Commandments given on Mount Sinai by Moses the lawgiver) that I never in my medical practice departed from what has been handed down in good faith to us and posterity; that I have never practiced deception, I have never overstated or made changes for the sake of gain, that I have ever striven that benefit might accrue to mankind; that I have praised non one nor censured anyone to indulge private interests, but only when truth demanded it. If I speak with falsehood, may God and His Angel Raphael punish me with Their eternal wrath and may on one henceforth place trust in me. I have not been desireful for he remuneration for medical services and have treated many without accepting any fee, but with none the less care. I have often unselfishly and firmly refused remuneration that was offered, preferring through diligent care to restore the patient to health, to being enrich3ed by his generosity. (I have given my services in equal manner to all, to Hebrews, Christians, and Muslims.) Loftiness of station has never influenced me and I have accorded the same care to the poor as to those of exalted rank. I have never produced disease. I have favored no druggist unless he excelled others in skill in his art and in character. In prescribing drugs I have exercised moderation guided by the physical condition of the invalid. I have never revealed a secret entrusted in me. I have never given a fatal draught. No woman has ever brought about an abortion with my aid. In short, I have done nothing which might be considered unbecoming an honorable and distinguished physician having always held Hippocrates and Galen before me as examples worthy of imitation and not having scorned the precepts of many other excellent practitioners of our art. I have endured the loss of private fortune, and have suffered frequent and dangerous journeys and even exile with calmness and unflagging courage, as befits a philosopher. The many students who have come to me have all been regarded a though they were my sons, I have used my best efforts to instruct them and to urge them to good conduct. I have published my medical works not to satisfy ambition, but that I might, in some measure, contribute to the furtherance of the health of mankind; I leave to others the judgment of whether I have succeeded; such at least has always been my aim and ever had the foremost place in my prayers."

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