Here is a great Apostolic Letter for physicians to read: Salvifici Doloris . This is a brief review I wrote a while ago and put on my blog.
Sometimes it is a good idea to take a step away from our work, to call a time out, and to take some stock of what we are doing in our lives. This is true for whatever our vocation is, or whatever our profession. In my case, I recommend this letter from Pope John Paul II as a good aide for doctors to use. Reading it has reminded me of the reasons why I chose medicine as a career so many years ago. It also will, hopefully, make me treat my patients as if I were caring for Our Lord instead of Yet Another Patient with An Abscess Somewhere That Needs To Be Drained.
Pope John Paul II makes the point that those who care for the sick are like the Good Samaritan, and the the good we do for others in our work is as if we were doing it for Him(whatsoever you do….etc.).
It is also a good idea to remember that our livelihood, for all specialties, is made possible by the sorrow and pain of others: fallout from the Fall of Adam.
Pope John Paul II published this letter in February 1984, approximately two and a half years after he was shot. My guess is that this letter was inspired by his experience as a patient.
George Weigel’s book, Witness to Hope covers this part of his pontificate very well. Pope John Paul II seemed to be very active in the decision making process of his medical care.