the act of service redeems the experience of suffering …

… The stories of our patients frequently do not end well, no matter what our patients do, and no matter what we do. In the end, if not now, then later, all pass from this world. All too often the service we provide, this most personal service, will fall short as we come up against the reality of inevitable decline and decay, a reality that makes the most profound demands on the practitioner. So, all too often, the role of the physician is not the procedure or the prescription, and not even reassurance, but consolation and condolence … The service that physicians offer, this most personal collaboration, this service so frequently humbled by the prospect of decline and death, is grounded in the service of a human person with special dignity, a dignity that governs the purview of a physician and the scope of a physician’s ethical actions.

from Dr. Donald Landry’s Commencement Address to St. Louis University School of Medicine