BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

© John Denney 23 March 2005


My brother-in-law spent a couple of weeks in hospital recently.In all three of the Leicester hospitals, in fact.On my visits I saw amazing hi-tech machinery in action: ECG machines that also monitor your pulse and blood pressure and beep alarmingly whenever any of the measurements are out of the desired range; ultrasonic and CT scanners; X-ray machines; devices that automatically administer drugs; beds that bend and tilt and go up and down at the touch of a button; and much more besides.Not to mention bedside television and phone units!Florence Nightingale couldnít have begun to imagine all this equipment.


But she would have been able to recognise nurses who are devoted to their patients; doctors whose medical knowledge is truly encyclopaedic; surgeons whose techniques are incredibly skilled.She would have been glad to see the efforts being made to get the standards of hygiene up to the highest levels, though saddened that they had been allowed to lapse from her own high standards.She might well have complained about the lack of necessary pillows for patients in some wards, such that families frequently have to bring them in for their loved ones.I guess the sheer size and complexity of modern hospitals leads to such deficiencies.The administrative systems arenít foolproof.


But itís not the equipment and resources, amazing as they are, that impresses me most.Itís the people.So many doctors and nurses and other staff go way beyond the call of duty and really try to make a difference to their patients.Often clearly overworked, often clearly short-handed, they live up to their vocation, not merely do their job.They are achieving what the Bible says: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might[1].And Ö work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God.[2]


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[1] Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)

[2] Ephesians 6:7 (MSG)