NYC Health + Hospitals and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs today re-released a joint open letter to New Yorkers ...
In my office, I had a small plaque on the wall with the inscription, “Love cannot be begged, bought or stolen. It can only be given away.” After listening to the medical histories and stories of many patients, I am convinced that the prescription for many diseased states should be “love,” as needed, at least three times a day. Now this prescription could solve many medical and mental problems of the sick and needy. Love is a healing and life-saving force.
Mrs. C. was a patient in Jamaica Hospital, with which I was affiliated. She had experienced a devastating stroke that left her speechless, blind and paralyzed. Staff nurses and staff doctors felt that there was little they could do. Mrs. C.’s daughter, however, who was a social worker at the hospital, visited her mother daily and would even spend her lunch hour with Mrs. C. The daughter also took her vacation time to be with this dependent soul. Often, I would pass the afflicted Mrs. C.’s room and observe the daughter stroking her mother’s brow and whispering in her ear. After many months of this demonstrable love, the patient responded, just with a blink of an eye or maybe just a tear. Her daughter was thrilled with this response.
Finally, Mrs. C. was discharged from the hospital, only as a shell of a person. Months later, I met her daughter and inquired about her Mrs. C.’s health. In time, Mrs. C. passed. However, her daughter continued to live a wonderful rewarding life as she still served others less fortunate.
In the book, “Living Therapeutic Touch,” Dr. Dolores Krieger wrote, “In general, the healing act is a conscious, full engagement of one’s energies in the interest of helping another person.” Dr. Krieger was a pioneer in using simple touching to foster healing and has trained many professionals to do so. The effect of wanting to keep a person alive is real and measurable, and should be part of the healing process. I feel it is a subject that should be taught in every medical school.
During my medical practice, I have used and observed the power of touch and love and it has assisted me in quelling unrelenting pain, lowering sky-high blood pressure and relaxing tense and painful muscles, and it also has a positive effect on other disease states. Just as negative energies increase the intensity of an illness, positive energies can decrease it.
In closing, I would like to refer to the Negro spiritual written by William J. Gaither in 1936, entitled “He Touched Me”:
a heavy burden
Neath a load of
guilt and shame
Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am
no longer the same.
Since I met this
Since He cleansed and
made me whole
I will never cease
to praise Him,
I’ll shout it while
He touched me,
O He touched me
And O the joy
that floods my soul;
and now I know
He touched me
and made me whole.
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