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A Surgeon’s Hands

“Doc, I prayed for your hands today.” The comment caught me off-guard.

The wife of my patient had offered this simple statement just before I operated on her husband. It was a routine procedure I’d done a thousand times. The patient was not high-risk. A year from now I may not even remember doing it.
But for her, it was an n-of-1 trial of my surgical ability, and that “one” was her husband.
In our community, the mention of prayer comes up regularly. I partake in it myself. Again, nothing high-risk there. But it had been awhile since a patient had mentioned praying for me specifically, and a first in this striking simplicity. The depth of her gaze and genuine honesty was refreshing.
Why my hands? What about my brain? Despite what some surmise, a great deal of thinking goes into surgery. Perhaps also a prayer for the OR staff to work as a team? Focus, concentration, and wisdom all came to mind, as did infection risk, complications, and the multitude of hospital staff who would come in contact with them during his short hospital stay.
But she prayed for my hands.
“Thank you, ‘ I said.  “I needed that.”
Andrew Harrell
Tuscaloosa, Alabama


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