23 March 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” (Luke 10:33-34)
There have been many changes in our life and culture in these United States since that last ‘greatest generation’ of the 1940’. I am going to share a story of a significant emotional event that happened to me as a lad of five years age in 1948.
I developed a cyst on my left earlobe that became infected and swollen beyond measure. My mother took me to our family doctor, Dr, Joseph (?) Broadrick. I only knew him as Dr. Broadrick! I was scared stiff since this was my first visit to a doctor’s office. We parked in front of the old 1st National Bank Building. It was graystone granite which didn’t help my impression of the visit. Taking me by the hand, my mother led me to the second floor where Dr. Broadrick’s office was. He was a short, thin gentleman who bore a mustache and wore spectacles. I remember him as looking very much like Doc Adams in the TV series ‘Gunsmoke.’
Dr. Broadrick examined my ear and slowly shook his head. Finally, he said, “Well, lady, I am going to have to lance that cyst.” “What does that mean,” I asked nervously. What he answered scared me so badly that running did not even occur to me. He answered, “I am going to stick a knife in that ear to allow it to drain.”
As he was cleaning my earlobe in preparation for this obviously deadly procedure, he began to tell me stories about his experience as a youthful doctor in North Georgia of the 1920’. In those days his only transportation was a horse and buggy. He was called to deliver babies at all ungodly hours of the night. He told me about a nightmare he had the very night before. He dreamed he was just returning home from delivering a baby at 10’clock in the morning. He had no sooner gotten to bed when there came a loud knock at the door. When he answered the door two men stood there holding a third who was obviously in bad shape. It was determined that he had wounded himself in the foot some time back, and the wound had developed into gangrene.
Dr. Broadrick said he decided that the man’s leg had to be amputated to save his life. So he had the two men hold hm still while he sawed the man’s leg off just above the knee.
I asked him, “What happened then?” to which Dr, Broadrick responded, “I don’t know, that is when I woke up from my dream.” The reality returned to my mind of the knife-piercing. I asked Dr. Broadrick. “When are you going to cut my ear.” He said, “Oh, that! I have already finished with that procedure and am now just cleaning the wound.”
In retrospect, I knew that Dr. Broadrick was taking my childish mind off the fear of the simple surgery and onto the drama of his nightmare. I loved that old gentleman for the many other kindnesses he did in always giving me a popsicle when we visited, or when he made a house call to some sick family member. As far as I know, he continued house calls until his death in 1964.
There are two Physicians mentioned of note in the New Testament – the first is the ‘Great Physician’ which is Jesus Christ whose healing arts cannot be compared with any other man, even calling back to life the dead. The second is Luke the Apostle who is mentioned by Paul as the ‘Beloved Physician.’ “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” (Colossians 4:14)
Dr. Broadrick’s healing arts may not rise to the level of St. Luke, however, in his kind and simple approach to medicine, his Christian love and devotion came shining through as the morning sun in dispersing the scattering fog of the meadows.
When I returned home from West Point on Christmas break, I learned that Dr. Broadrick had died of cancer, a malady with which he must have suffered greatly. His son was the executor of his estate. In going through the records of Dr. Broadrick’s practice, he found that every bill in his files had been marked “Paid in Full’ by Dr. Broadrick himself only a month prior to his death. That must have been a considerable sum of forgiven debt since Dr. Broadrick never turned a patient away, rich or poor. As a result, many who were unable to pay for medical treatment had their debts forgiven by this Good Doctor and Christian Witness. Perhaps that is the reason they call his the last great generation.