Acton Institute Powerblog

Physician, Whom Dost Thou Serve?

Share this article:
Join the Discussion:

An interesing piece in the new New Atlantis, The Moral Education of Doctors.

…the transformation of doctoring in the image of science may also obscure, in important ways, the real character of the medical vocation. If we educate doctors solely or largely as mechanics of the body, we may leave them unprepared for the human encounter with the sick and desperate, the brave and dying, the healed and grateful.

The point in a nutshell (with apologies to the author): there is a human person here; act accordingly. This seems to me to be something we might all remind ourselves of, no matter what our profession. To remind ourselves of the human element of our work–that somehow what we are doing is benefiting and serving another human person–this reminds us of the dignity of human work and of its reality to the truth of the human person. To paraphrase John Paul the Great, we become most human when we make of ourselves a gift to others. We ought to view our work, therefore, as a way we realize the truth about ourselves as gifts to others. What a fine way to see ourselves and our work, whether we be doctors or trash collectors, teachers or machinists.

David Michael Phelps