Monday, March 03, 2008
I was reading an article about medical malpractice the other day that involved a bunch of different professionals. One phrase kept being repeated, "failure to rescue." As in, "Dr. John Doe's failure to rescue the patient resulted in permanent paralysis on the left side." "Nurse Nancy's failure to rescue the patient resulted in..."
You get the idea. A medical professional puts eyes on a patient, doesn't see what needs seeing or do what needs doing and it is considered failure to rescue that person from danger.
As a medical professional, I can tell you that what makes someone a good nurse or doctor is their inability not to rescue. It's in our blood. We can't walk away.
As a Christian, I am ashamed when the same instincts don't drive my behavior. I would not turn my back on a patient who had fallen. I'd run across the Target parking lot if someone was in distress. I'd do CPR and mouth to mouth on an accident victim covered in blood. No second thoughts. But do I feel the same urgency when the injury is buried deeper?
I confess to you that I have walked away from people in imminent spiritual danger. I've thrown up my hands and decided that nothing could be done. Including, apparently, praying. I say this because sometimes you can't talk someone into heaven but you can pray them there. I tend to stop talking and praying at the same time.
I'm not just talking about Bible-thumping. "Do you know Jesus as your own personal savior?" "If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity?"
No, I mean redemption by example. Jesus loved people into healing. It was urgent for him, he couldn't not rescue.
Would I put my bare mouth over yours knowing you had HIV if you stopped breathing?
Would I keep calling if you kept lying to me, deceiving me, playing games with my trust in you?
Yes to the first. Probably no to the second.
Will there someday be a malpractice case against me?