Comparisons can be invidious. They can also be instructive and profitable. For instance, a comparison of the physician Luke with the physicians of today reveals the tremendous strides made in medicine during the past 2,000 years.
This is no reflection on Luke. I am sure that a man who was such a careful historian was equally conscientious in the practice of his profession. His character was unblemished, and his dedicated personality led the Apostle Paul to speak of him as “Luke the beloved physician.”
But since Luke’s time and particularly in the last few decades, the practice of medicine and surgery has been revolutionized. What is commonplace today would have been unbelievable even a few years ago.
Visiting in one of our great medical centers, I watched a friend, a much younger surgeon, perform what is now a routine operation in many hospitals. He removed most of the abdominal aorta (for a large aneurysm) and the two large arteries leading down through the pelvis, replacing them with a plastic counterpart in and through which a new aorta and branches would develop. The care, precision, and lack of haste of the surgeon and his three assistants bore testimony to their training and skill. And, best of all, the patient made a brilliant recovery.
In another area, that of open-heart surgery, progress is so rapid that the possibility of complete heart replacements is actually being discussed.
As for the new medicines, it is said that 90 per cent of the prescriptions now written by physicians are for medicines not in use even ten years ago.
It is obvious that while the character of Luke the physician has not been improved upon, the practice of medicine and surgery has advanced fantastically. Bodily ailments continue as in Luke’s day, ...1
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