Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Category: Inspiration

Lafayette recently hosted a world class conference on Health and Healing. Speakers included Dr. Larry Dossey, Leland Kaiser, Dr. Joan Borysenko, Dr. Wayne Sotile, and many others. The essence of the meeting was the critical importance of our spirits in the healing process. This is why so many Americans are trying alternative medical therapies. Mainstream American medical care can be cold and unfeeling---reflecting the bottom line attitude especially common in today's managed care atmosphere. What happened to the laying on of hands and other important spiritual aspects of healing? Actually, they never left but they have become less common with the ever increasing high technology medicine practiced in America and throughout the modern western world. How can we bridge the merits of ancient healing methods and modern knowledge and technology? That theme was discussed at length at the conference. I'm confident we can accomplish that worthy goal and incorporate prayer and spirituality back into American medicine.

Conference speakers constantly emphasized the critical importance of "people" (not machines) healing people. People must work together as effective medical teams by sharing their true feelings, and even their spirituality to be most effective. Dr. Dossey reviewed hundreds of amazing studies on prayer and its critical role in healing. As a physician, I was reminded to express my medical recommendations clearly, confidently, and prayerfully. Perhaps my best medicine and that of all health care givers is our empathy and the caring way we try to guide our patients to health. I certainly agree with those ideas and have personally experienced the amazing power of prayer and faith throughout my 16 year career.

I am especially thankful to my mentor, my dad (Dr. George Prather), now retired from Pediatrics. He taught me those vital lessons firsthand as I rode with him on hundreds of house calls through the 50's and 60's and worked with him through the 80's and 90's. In his wonderful 50 year career, he knew the essence of instilling confidence and faith in his patients and reassuring their families. When he told a worried young couple "your baby is going to be fine", you could see the parents immediate relief followed by joy and peace. What a powerful tool. We, in the medical field, must harness it to best help our patients. We must be open minded and learn from the lessons of many new alternative medical styles. Actually, most of them are ancient healing methods rejuvenated. We also must carefully and scientifically scrutinize medical quackery to protect our patients from wasted time and money and missed opportunities to be healed. Sometimes we simply have to allow our patients to die and accept our lack of a cure. That too is healing if we stick with them right to their death and their "transition" (rebirth) to eternal life in heaven. That truly is being a spiritual health care giver. That's what our patients want and deserve.

I recommend several books featured at the conference to everyone but especially those in the health care field. Let's all keep growing in wisdom and spirit as we read:
1. Dr. Larry Dossey
Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and Practice of Medicine
Prayer is Good Medicine: How to Reap the Healing Benefits of Prayer
Meaning & Medicine: Lessons from a Doctor's Tales of Breakthrough and Healing
2. Dr. Joan Borysenko, PhD
The Power of the Mind to Heal
Pocketful of Miracles
Fire in the Soul: A Psychology of Spiritual Optimism
On Wings of Light
Guilt is the Teacher, Love is the Lesson
Minding the Body, Mending the Mind
3. Wayne Sotile, PhD
Heart Illness and Intimacy: How Caring Relationships Aid Recovery
The Medical Marriage: A Couple's Survival Guide
Psychosocial Interventions for Cardiopulmonary Patients
4. Barbara Dossey, RN, MS, HNC, FA.AN
Rituals Of Healing: Using Imagery for Health and Wellness
5. Sarah Brabant, PhD
Mending the Torn Fabric: For Those Who Grieve and Those Who Want to Help Them
6. Deidre Davis Brigham, MPH, MA
Imagery for Getting Well
7. Nancy Moore, RN, PhD
Patient Focused Healing
8. Dr Lester R Sauvage
The Open Heart Stories of Hope, Healing, & Happiness