Christian Surgeons Are Calling on the Great Physician With Their Patients Before They Cut


Prayer and Scalpel

It used to be when you ended up in a hospital, you’d expect the doctors to just deal with your physical condition. If you wanted someone to pay attention to your spiritual needs, you’d have to find a chaplain or pastor.

But that’s not necessarily true anymore. A number of doctors these days are willing to personally help you call on the Great Physician.

It would be against Dallas heart surgeon Mark Pool’s medical oath if he didn’t study every patient’s case before operating. But he feels it would go against his Christian calling if he didn’t at least offer to pray with all his patients.

“God is the Great Physician. He is the One who controls life and death,” Pool said, explaining his desire to keep his patients and himself in contact with God.

God’s Scalpel
Pool pointed out the scalpel is his instrument during surgery.

“And in the same way, I see myself as an instrument in the hand of God. So I’m the one doing the operation, but He’s the one guiding me.”

He said he likes to pray with his patients.

“It shows them that I don’t think I’m sitting in the place of God; it shows them that I see that I’m just an instrument in His hand,” he said.

When folks are facing medical emergencies, some people would say that’s exactly the wrong time to pressure them about spiritual matters. But most patients say it actually takes much of the pressure off to bring God and prayer into their situations, and they appreciate it.

A Lethal Condition
Dallas resident Tom Pryor came to Pool’s Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital with an emergency need to have an aortic valve replaced.

“His risk of dying was probably 90 percent if he had no surgery,” Pool said of Pryor’s condition. “Even if you do a surgery, the risk of dying is about 30 percent. So it’s a highly lethal condition.”

Pryor had just finished calls with his three children, sobered by the fact they might never hear from him again, when Pool offered to pray.

“I was slightly taken aback for just a second,” Pryor said. “And, then, realizing my condition and the things that were going on, I thought it was probably a pretty good idea.”

Pryor acknowledged the immediate impact of Pool’s prayer. He said he felt much more calm and relaxed.

He believes God did an even bigger thing by answering Pool’s prayer asking God that Pryor would live through the surgery.

“I am here. I beat the odds,” he said.

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Paul Strand

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