Christ with Us: Practicing Christ-like Presence in an Age of Burnout

One week into a rotation in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU), I found myself dreaming about the hospital. I was not dreaming about saying the wrong thing on rounds, but I was dreaming about our patients: Mr. Brown’s wife when she’d been told he may not survive his third surgery this admission; Mr. Thomas’s mom crying because she felt responsible for how he’d “turned out.” I told an attending I trusted that I was distressed by how much I was carrying patients’ stories with me, and she graciously admitted to me she’d struggled with the same thing early on in training. The solution, she said, is to not get so attached. “That’s how you burn out,” she said.

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But God: Finding the Silver Lining

I remember early on hearing in the news about a virus causing problems in China. It wasn’t long before we heard news of it spreading. As it began to spread, we were busy planning for March, our busiest month of mission trips. We send the most teams in the month of March, which gives mission opportunities for various schools during the annual spring break period. We sent our first two teams out before countries began closing their borders. While these two teams were still out of the country, we began cancelling our remaining trips. First it was for the month, then it became two and on through the summer. Before we knew it, we had cancelled every single remaining mission trip scheduled throughout the remainder of 2020—all as a result of COVID-19.

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My Hour Has Come!

“Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’”
—John 12:23

Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection were the fulfillment of multiple Old Testament prophecies, and they coincided with a time period of unbridled harshness and brutality. Death by crucifixion, as described by Martin Hengel, was “a barbaric form of execution of the utmost cruelty” and as “the supreme Roman penalty.”

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Dentally Impacting the World for Christ

Over the last two years, CMDA’s dental outreach has developed into a two-pronged approach, ministering to traditional private dental professionals and also those seeking to serve the underserved, both domestically and internationally. Vice President for Dental Ministries Dr. William “Griff” Griffin focuses primarily on engaging with our dental members, while Vice President for Dental Education Dr. Jeff Amstutz is developing general practice dental residency programs to equip dentists in ministering to the poor in the name of Jesus. Both aspects of CMDA’s Dental Ministries have been made possible by the generosity of the late Dr. Pete Dawson, who we seek to honor in this article, as we trace the Lord’s guiding hand over the last decade.

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Making CMDA Better: Lessons from Basic Life Support

I still remember the first time I donned a whitecoat (one of those half-length coats for students) with a stethoscope in my pocket and walked into a patient room at the big city hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1985. I was a second-year medical student at Indiana University, and I had just received instruction from my clinical instructor on how to perform a thorough history and physical. I don’t remember my first patient’s name, but she was a young woman with a loud systolic heart murmur even I could hear. I also remember three words that were to guide me through each step of a thorough physical exam: “Look, listen and feel.” A couple of years later, those three words became critical again as I took my first basic life support (BLS) course and became certified both in BLS and Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), prior to becoming a surgical resident. Again, the phrase, “Look, listen and feel,” was the guiding mantra to get my first BLS certification card.

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Transformed Doctors: Shelby Montgomery

Shelby Montgomery

In this article from the Spring 2019 edition of Today’s Christian Doctor, we feature Shelby Montgomery, a third year at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received my bachelor’s of science in kinesiology at LSU in Baton Rouge, spending her junior year of undergrad at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on the island of Oahu through National Student Exchange. After graduating from LSU, I worked for one year at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge as a research coordinator for the Heads Up project.

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