A Very Unusual Treatment

When Dr. Kathi J. Kemper asked her colleagues to pray for a patient, she got some surprising results.

Kathi J. Kemper, M.D., M.P.H., directs the Center for Holistic Pediatric Education and Research at The Children's Hospital in Boston, is a member of the faculty of Harvard Medical School, and the author of "The Holistic Pediatrician." She spoke with Beliefnet Spirituality producer Anne Simpkinson.

You told a remarkable story at a recent conference on complementary and alternative medicine about physicians praying for a patient of yours. Would you tell it again?

I'd been helping to take care of a girl in the intensive care unit. She was 13 years old and had a malformation of a blood vessel in her brain. Part of the malformation ruptured and caused a major stroke. She was scheduled to have a procedure to prevent her from having another stroke. It's a very high-risk procedure and is prone to a lot of complications. I had been doing Reiki [a physical therapy that uses the body's energy for healing] with her every day, but the day of her procedure I was scheduled to give a talk at a medical meeting at the very same time. Her father asked me if I could do Reiki for her that morning, and I told him I was sorry but would be at the conference and asked him if he'd like me to pray for her instead. And he said yes.


I realized then that I was going to ask people I had never met to pray--something I'd never encountered before at a medical meeting--so I spent a pretty sleepless night. But at 8 o'clock the next morning, I asked that the doors at the back of the conference room be closed so people wouldn't be coming in and out, and I explained the situation to about 400 people who were at the conference and asked if we could have a moment of silent prayer, or of sending good will or good wishes to this girl. And we did that.

I was going to ask people I had never met to pray--something I'd never encountered before at a medical meeting.
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