December 22, 2017
The Child, the Pediatrician
Life and Death
The birth of a child always brings joy, wonder and hope. It is the joy of creation, the wonder of the divine gift granted by God and the hope that life has a future.
In order to make sure that the child’s life is secure, parents will seek support from many, particularly the support of pediatricians. It is from pediatricians that they will get the first basic guidance concerning the upbringing of their child and will look to them when the child becomes ill. During these difficult moments, the parents will look into the doctor’s eyes to learn if the life of their child is in danger, and, together with the doctor, they will rejoice when the child regains its health.
It is an oxymoron, an irony and, according to this “world”, a tragedy when pediatricians, who gave all their lives for the protection of a child’s life, meet death. Yet, a conscientious doctor knows quite well that life is a gift from God and that this earthly life will, at some point, come to an end. At this final hour of life, when the end comes, every pediatrician who believes in the Creator of life and who gave his or her life to the children of the world, will in turn offer his or her life to the One that gave life by saying, “In your hand, Lord, I place my body and my soul. May He bless me, have mercy on me and grant me eternal life.” Then, God will take this soul in His arms, the same way the doctor had taken children into his or her arms, and will place it in His Eternal Kingdom.
When pediatricians care for the child’s health and upbringing with humility and self-sacrifice, they offer hope, perspective and a role-model to all. When each pediatrician’s earthly life comes to its end and each one will give up his or her soul with faith and love to the Creator, each one will reveal to all that life is not limited to this world, but continues in the Heavenly Kingdom of God. Thus, both their life and their death will leave an inheritance of love and service to all and will bear witness that “love will not end” (I Cor. 13:8).
In memory of Konstantine Papadatos ((† 12/12/2017),
Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics of the University of Athens and Honorary President and a Founding Member of “Merimna”, an organization which works closely with the “Patriarchal Network”. He was a forerunner in the field of pediatrics both in Greece and abroad.