The cracked lips and dry tongue indicated he was desperately ill, but I had done my part, or at least as far as I was willing to go.
He was very dehydrated. In fact he needed over 4 liters of water just to bring him back to near conscious state. I surveyed him closely. Took his vital signs of blood pressure and pulse once again and decided. I will only give him half of what he needs. Let someone else give him the other half. After all, why should I be responsible for treating him all the way?
Such is the dilemma of being a physician of faith and science. I know I am obliged to treat dehydration according to a protocol designed to save a life, not just to delay death. That sounds less than ethical, rational, reasonable and certainly is inhumane. Everyone would agree with that.
So why would I only treat someone’s physical needs and never address the spiritual and emotional component of their illness? Why give them half the required therapy? There is not a person who presents to me who has no spiritual need. No one has every prayer request met. No one has every burden borne or even presented to someone who is able or willing to bear it.
I dare not give half the required therapy. It is worse than malpractice. It does not reflect Christ.