Monday, January 23, 2006 Observation:
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might..." [Ecclesiastes 9:10]
About 11 days ago Jo Anne had surgery on both of her feet. The first couple of days she experienced severe pain and I told her she was a bit wimpy, and that I would have been able to endure the same procedure without even any anesthesia. Well, given the circumstances she didn't respond very well to my paralyzed humor. She is much better today -- still in a wheelchair -- so we make quite an interesting looking couple. She actually had the same surgery about 10 years ago but the doctor didn't do it correctly and so she had to have it redone. Fortunately for the public with feet problems this doctor quit the medical profession, under some duress I believe. His former partner however, agreed to do the new surgery at no charge and it seems as though he did a superior job. You don't find that kind of a person around much anymore.
Don't you just love people who have paid the price to gain knowledge and training in their special fields and then who have the integrity to do it "... with [their] might...."? I suspect if we were the suing kind of people we could have sued the first foot doctor for malpractice.
A couple of days before the surgery we drove out to Riverside County to watch our son, Mike, give his opening arguments in a death penalty, serial killing case. Mike is a deputy district attorney and we have watched him in other similar trials. This case is particularly heinous and involves two extremely evil and wicked individuals who are obviously "past feeling". Mike has been preparing for this trial for several years now. Although he is our son and we are very prejudiced, he did a magnificent job in a 2-1/2 hour opening statement to put the case in proper perspective in the eyes of the jury. He seldom glanced at any notes and everyone in the courtroom was riveted on every word he spoke. We went back two days later and observed him skillfully question witness after witness as he began to build his case. I am impressed with his intense preparation and desire to see justice done for the victim -- a young 14-year-old girl -- and her family and young friends. The young friends who are now in their late teens and early twenties were absolutely overwhelmed that anybody would care enough about this one, little, insignificant girl, to invest so much time and effort into bringing her murderers to justice. I don't know if Mike will get the desired death penalty for both of the perpetrators of this crime, but if he doesn't it won't ever be because of a lack of effort on his part as he works with all his "might" to see justice done. Knowing Mike the way I do I doubt he will ever be sued for malpractice because of a lack of preparation or understanding of the law.
The contrast between the first foot doctor, the second foot doctor, and Mike has caused me to reflect on the fact that almost anybody in any walk of life is susceptible of being guilty of malpractice. I believe malpractice is more a question of motive than knowledge and training most of the time. A painter, a wallpaper hanger, a carpenter, an auto mechanic, a wedding coordinator and caterer, etc. could all be guilty of malpractice if they don't do with all their "might" what they have promised and are supposed to be experts at doing. What about teachers? I am quite sensitive about this having been a teacher for most of my life. I still am always asking myself if I have prepared sufficiently and pondered deeply and long enough to teach an adequate lesson regarding the creation, the fall, or the atonement to my gospel doctrine class. I hope I am never guilty of malpractice because of a lack of preparation or effort and that I could only be blamed for stupidity. I am sure there have been a few students over the years that perhaps would have been justified in suing me for malpractice. I have always tried hard however to never be guilty, as a teacher, of slaying my students with the "jawbone of an ass" as Sampson did to the Philistines.
I suspect the quotation from Ecclesiastes at the top of this Observation cuts across every aspect of our lives --"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might..." [Ecclesiastes 9:10]
In our professions, as students, in our church callings, as parents, and citizens of this great nation we must never be so negligent and sloppy in what we do that we could ever be rightfully sued for malpractice.
Perhaps an important thought in all of this was given by the transcendentalist author Henry David Thoreau(1817-1862) : "Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it."