Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689) was a Christian physician, known as 'the English Hippocrates' and 'the father of English medicine'. He wrote:
"It becomes every man who purposes to give himself to the care of others, seriously to consider the four following things:
First, that he must one day give an account to the Supreme Judge of all the lives entrusted to his care.
Secondly, that all his skill, and knowledge, and energy as they have been given him by God, so they should be exercised for his glory, and the good of mankind, and not for mere gain or ambition.
Thirdly, and not more beautifully than truly, let him reflect that he has undertaken the care of no mean creature, for, in order that he may estimate the value, the greatness of the human race, the only begotten Son of God became himself a man, and thus ennobled it with his divine dignity, and far more than this, died to redeem it.
And fourthly, that the doctor being himself a mortal man, should be diligent and tender in relieving his suffering patients, inasmuch as he himself must one day be a like sufferer."
We believe these principles should shape the Christian practice of medicine today, and have named our courses in Christian medicine, in memory of Thomas Sydenham.
The Sydenham Forum was run from 2010-2012 as a 5-day Summer school for about 15 medical students, for in-depth study of Christian medicine, medical ethics, public policy, developing world mission and other issues relating Christian faith to the practice of 21st century medicine. For 2013 we'll be running a Summer school jointly with KLICE in Cambridge, details TBC.
Sydenham:international is CMF's International Medical Student Conference. This is a 7-day conference in February, based at CMF in London for 15-20 overseas medical students, mainly from Europe and Central Asia. It aims to explore a Christian understanding of health and healthcare, to think through the issues related to being a Christian medical student in different cultures, to equip students for leadership in their own countries and to promote networking between students and doctors across Eurasia.