Thursday, May 8, 2008

Words to Live By

 Updated 3/2017-- all links removed as many are no longer active.

The following was the conclusion of an article I recently read on David Cheever in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (referenced below). I would like to share it. I think it applies to whatever field you choose to study, not just medicine.
"Although we may remember David Cheever as a surgical innovator, his character is more aptly revealed in the following passage from a lecture, delivered before the Harvard Medical School class of 1871, entitled “How to Study Medicine”21:
If you seek for wealth you have mistaken your avocation. There must be something more, and something higher. That something is a love of your profession; a passion for science for its own sake; a broad humanity, which covers all the sick with a mantle of charity. Never lose sight of that motive, for if it once takes flight, your profession is reduced to a trade, and there is absolutely nothing left. As long as you can keep alive the sacred flame of this early passion which first called you to embrace the medical
profession, so long shall you be warmed, sustained, upheld amid disappointment, unjust treatment or reverses."

Cheever's Double Operation: The First Le Fort I Osteotomy; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 121(4):1375-1381, April 2008; Halvorson, Eric G. M.D.; Mulliken, John B. M.D.


Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...


Anonymous said...

I had a long discussion with a friend along the sentiments expressed in the first two lines. He gave up on an engineering career to get on the software bandwagon. I totally agree & echo the amen.

mark's tails said...

I'll also give an Amen, but what I found so interesting is that this was given at a time when medical education and science was really in a state of disarray in the U.S. 40 years before the
the Flexner Report

Truly, words spoken by a man way ahead of his time.

Neumed said...

Words to live by. Once again, I'm reminded of why I love your blog so much. Thanks.

And Abby's Quilt is beautiful.

Doctor David said...

Amen is right. No matter what your field. I feel so bad for people who hate their jobs. To have to spend 40 hours a week doing something you can't stand must be awful.

Dragonfly said...


Anonymous said...

I still don't understand where doctors feel they get the moral authority to tell others how they should feel about their profession. I've never heard of engineers or investment bankers or computer programmers having opinions about what one's attitude toward computer programming should be. The reasons why someone decides to pursue a paticular profession and their attitude towards practicing it are deeply personal and based on a lifelong struggle to decide what gives one's life value and meaning - I don't think there's any right or wrong about it.

C. E. Moore Art said...

I found you from a google search for slave quilts. I found it interesting that you like sewing and that you suture too. As far as the words you posted, I applaud you and cheer praises because depth and perspective are the kernels that form real gold. I think it is amusing that someone tried to impose a "gawd complex" because of you vocation. I believe we all need a vacation from such harsh judgement unless one is really willing to work towards advocating the uncovering the real work: The Job of Searching One's Self.