Philosophical Repose

A recent episode of much-needed filing in my office uncovered some prior contributions I had written for the Journal of the Kentucky Medical Association as part of its editorial board. One of these, written over a decade ago, resonated with me. The editorial represented what at the time I had termed a “daily devotional.” How timely that I should discover and reread this as it came on the heels of several (and not uncommon) frustrating days in the office.

The article highlighted a beautiful mosaic in the lobby of the hospital where I had my practice for 20 years. It featured Maimonide’s Prayer. Maimonide was a 12th century physician and philosopher. Here is a copy of the script:

Almighty Father of Mercy,
I begin once more my daily work,
Grant that I may be able to devote myself,
Body and soul, to Thy children who suffer from pain.
In all my efforts to heal the sick may I be filled with love for my fellow man.

One needn’t be particularly religious to understand and appreciate the very simple meaning of this prayer. It reminds us, that as laboratory professionals, we, as part of the healthcare team, ultimately need to remember that our personal daily devotion is to patient care. It is good from time to time to have a moment of philosophical repose.

I believe the next time daily events are extremely exasperating, when frustrations of practice threaten to overshadow my day, I shall have a copy of Maimonide’s Prayer close by to provide a bit of realignment and re-commitment to this professional purpose.


-Dr. Burns was a private practice pathologist, and Medical Director for the Jewish Hospital Healthcare System in Louisville, KY. for 20 years. She has practiced both surgical and clinical pathology and has been an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Louisville. She is currently available for consulting in Patient Blood Management and Transfusion Medicine. You can reach her at

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