Our True Job in Medicine

Thoughts and Insights into Mederi-Care

We are living in an era of the most sophisticated technological advances, yet the treatment of cancer is paleolithic.” ~Azra Raza MD

The foundation of Mederi Medicine has always been to support people in thriving, not merely surviving, in the journey of life. Recently, I’ve been reading the book “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by surgeon, professor, and public health researcher, Atul Gawande.

Dr. Gawande writes eloquently about what matters most in medicine. Now, more than ever, we need to hear these words of wisdom.

“We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive. Those reasons matter not just at the end of life, or when debility comes, but all along the way. Whenever serious sickness or injury strikes and your body or mind breaks down, the vital questions are the same: What is your understanding of the situation and its potential outcomes? What are your fears and what are your hopes? What are the trade-offs you are willing to make and not willing to make? And what is the course of action that best serves this understanding?”

“A few conclusions become clear when we understand this: that our most cruel failure in how we treat the sick and the aged is the failure to recognize that they have priorities beyond merely being safe and living longer; that the chance to shape one’s story is essential to sustaining meaning in life; that we have the opportunity to refashion our institutions, our culture, and our conversations in ways that transform the possibilities for the last chapters of everyone’s lives. ~Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

As I reflect on this insightful statement from Atul it reminds me of St. Francis of Assisi, who said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  In a very Franciscan-like quote, which is perhaps my favorite passage in his book, Atul writes: “Measurements of people’s minute by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life may be empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves.”

When the going gets tough and people turn to God for answers, they want to tell God all about their troubles and their disease. They often blame their problems and the problems of the world on God or religion. Instead, I suggest that we turn this around, and that we tell our troubles and our dis-ease about God.

Mederi Medicine is a Unified Approach to Medicine

As Mederi practitioners, we are positioned to take a wholistic approach and to be more open-minded and effective for the people we serve. Through the multiple lenses of the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS), Mederi practitioners select the best medicine in various doctrines, methods, or styles and unify them so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

As comprehensive and innovative as any single medical system might be (modern or traditional), it still contains sets of assumptions that create bias. These biases and limitations would be self-defeating to a Mederi practitioner, because single sets of assumptions (single theories) are limited, and often, misguided. For this reason, Mederi Care defers to no single theory. This allows for the freedom to approach health in an open and objective manner. Critics of the Mederi Unitive system often contend that integrative systems create problems of incompatibility or undesirable interactions. The truth is that within the Mederi system are endless interactions, and it is the interactions that make it work.

Finding Answers to Complex Questions

Critics also question how we know what we are doing is effective. To study the effects of medicine (drugs) you need to remove all variables so that you can prove that your drug is the one factor that is making the difference. When it comes to ETMS, it is the system that creates the protocol. This fluid approach adapts and changes according to the responses of patient, the micro-environment, and the disease. An attitude of humility is paramount, because you must surrender to the notion of the unknown aspects of what enables a patient to get well. 

It’s easy to observe the immediate actions of heroic drugs, which often use a sledgehammer approach. But when observing the synergy and the humility of gentle herbal medicine, it’s more challenging to tease out the constituents that are responsible for the beneficial effects.

Authentic spirituality is always first about you—about allowing your own heart and mind to be changed.”  Richard Rohr

I believe in science, and I also believe that not everything can be explained by science. The ETMS is a systematic unification of various theories and complex toolboxes, and this is what is required to obtain the best and most consistent results. For example, in the case of cancer, the goal should not always be to get rid of the cancer, no matter what the cost. Instead, the goal should be to promote the highest state of well-being for the longest time. Our priority should always be quality of life.

Meditations on Courage and Peace

I believe it is the Eternal Christ that is the super conductor of Divine Energies, fueled by Divine Love, omnipresent in all living beings, most often through ordinary humans, animals, and the humble plants.

“Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything dies except God.” ~St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa’s story inspires us to hold on to courage in troubled times. For most of her life she was plagued by pain and persecution. Despite her frail health, she led the way for the reformation of the Carmelite order away from wealthy excesses and toward simplicity, deep quiet and contemplation. Teresa teaches us to seek to hear God’s voice in our own Interior, which she called the Interior Castle. 

We are all capable of so much if we can allow Grace to flow through us.  “Grace is just the natural loving flow of things when we allow it, instead of resisting it. For God loves you by turning your mistakes into grace.” ~Richard Rohr

In order to truly help others heal we must have courage and peace in our hearts.

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”
~Etty Hillesum “An Interrupted Life”

Etty Hillesum was a young Jewish woman who was killed at Auschwitz in 1943 whose faith puts us all to shame. Just listen to the power of these words:

“Alas, there doesn’t seem to be much You Yourself can do about our circumstances, about our lives.Neither do I hold You responsible. You cannot help us, but we must help You and defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last.” ~Etty Hillesum, Lettres De Westerbork

We do no good by complaining about the world and blaming God. Instead of being focused on our mortality, we need to focus on caring for the sick and dying and bringing love and goodness to all. There is always work to be done. And it is up to us to do it.

Life is filled with challenges, and these are especially challenging times on our planet. But never forget, as Etty Hillesum wrote, “Despite everything, life is full of beauty and meaning.”


6 Comments

  1. June Ellen A Bradley

    Donnie your words are a balm to the soul. I love “explain God to your illnesses”
    We are all so much more powerful than we believe. Thank you for bringing the light!
    This is how we transform what it means to be healthy on the planet. Aligning with the natural order of things internally and externally is how it all comes together.

  2. Thank you for you work, love and the insight you share. I feel blessed with strength from these words

  3. Always with eloquent words, this shares the essence of who we are and who we are to be. As much as I feel I have helped patients with the knowledge that I have most earnestly sought, ultimately it is the patients who with their love and faith through trials, and their transformative spiritual experiences, and their healing through ETMS, that have given me the greatest of gifts – the knowing of God, and the recognition of God’s love.

  4. Just beautiful! Very inspiring and truly the essence of spirituality shared so lovingly

  5. Kim Phelps

    Thank you! Great to remember during these challenging times!

  6. Anne amore

    Life continues on full of beauty and meaning. And yes Grace flows through each one of us. Teaching the old ways of nourishment for body and soul will prevent the illnesses that are so prevalent today. I believe our salvation lies in going way back and forward too together to find the answers to healing.

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