Letters from Ellen G. White to Sanitarium Workers

Refinement and Delicacy

Among Christian physicians there should ever be a striving for the maintenance of the highest order of true refinement and delicacy, a preservation of those barriers of reserve that should exist between men and women. SpTB15 13.1

We are living in a time when the world is represented as Noah's time, and as in the time of Sodom. I am constantly shown the great dangers to which youth, and men and women who have just reached manhood and womanhood, and also men and women of mature years, are exposed, and I dare not hold my peace. There is need of greater refinement, both in thought and association. There is need of Christians being more elevated, and delicate in words and deportment. SpTB15 13.2

The work of the physician is of that character that if there is a coarseness in his nature, it will be revealed. Therefore, the physician should guard carefully his speech, and avoid all commonness in his conversation. Every patient he treats is reading the traits of his character and the tone of his morals by his actions and conversation. SpTB15 13.3

The light given me of the Lord regarding this matter is that as far as possible lady physicians should care for lady patients, and gentleman physicians have the care of gentleman patients. Every physician should respect the delicacy of the patients. Any unnecessary exposure of ladies before male physicians is wrong. Its influence is detrimental. SpTB15 13.4

Delicate treatments should not be given by male physicians to women in our institutions. Never should a lady patient be alone with a gentlemen physician, either for special examination or for treatment. Let the physicians be faithful in preserving delicacy and modesty under all circumstances. SpTB15 13.5

In our medical institutions there ought always to be women of mature age and good experience who have been trained to give treatments to the lady patients. Women should be educated and qualified just as thoroughly as possible to become practitioners in the delicate diseases which afflict women, that their secret parts should not be exposed to the notice of men. There should be a much larger number of lady physicians, educated not only to act as trained nurses, but also as physicians. It is a most horrible practice, this revealing the secret parts of women to men, or men being treated by women. SpTB15 13.6

Women physicians should utterly refuse to look upon the secret parts of men. Women should be thoroughly educated to work for women, and men to work for men. Let men know that they must go to their own sex, and not apply to lady physicians. It is an insult to women, and God looks upon these things of commonness with abhorrence. SpTB15 14.1

While physicians are called upon to teach social purity, let them practice that delicacy which is a constant lesson in practical purity. Women may do a noble work as practicing physicians; but when men ask a lady physician to give them examinations and treatments which demand the exposure of private parts, let her refuse decidedly to do this work. SpTB15 14.2

In the medical work there are dangers which the physician should understand and constantly guard against. Truly converted men are the ones who should be employed as physicians in our sanitariums. Some physicians are self-sufficient, and consider themselves able to guard their own ways; whereas if they but knew themselves, they would feel their great need of help from above, a higher intelligence. SpTB15 14.3

Some medical men are unfit to act as physicians to women because of the attitude they assume toward them. They take liberties until it becomes a common thing with them to transgress the laws of chastity. Our physicians should have the highest regard for the direction given by God to His church when they were delivered from Egypt. This will keep them from becoming loose in manners and careless in regard to the laws of chastity. All who live by the laws given by God from Sinai may be safely trusted. SpTB15 14.4

It is not in harmony with the instructions given at Sinai that gentleman physicians should do the work of mid-wives. The Bible speaks of women at child birth being attended by women, and thus it ought always to be. Women should be educated and trained to act skillfully as midwives and physicians to their sex. It is just as important that a line of study be given to educate women to deal with women's diseases, as it is that there should be gentlemen thoroughly trained to act as physicians and surgeons. And the wages of the women should be proportionate to her services. She should be as much appreciated in her work as the gentleman physician is appreciated in his work. SpTB15 14.5

Let us educate ladies to become intelligent in the work of treating the diseases of their sex. They will some time need the counsel and assistance of experienced gentlemen physicians. When brought into trying places let all be led by Supreme wisdom. Let all bear in mind that they need and may have the wisdom of the Great Physician in their work. SpTB15 15.1

We ought to have a school where women can be educated by women physicians, to do the best possible work in treating the diseases of women. SpTB15 15.2

Among us as a people, the medical work should stand at its highest. Physicians should bear in mind that it is their work to fit souls as well as bodies for heavenly lives. Their service for God is to be uncorrupted by evil practices. SpTB15 15.3

Every practitioner should study carefully the Word of God. Read the story of the sons of Aaron in the tenth chapter of Leviticus, verses one to eleven. Here was a case where the the use of wine benumbed the senses. The Lord demands that the appetite and all the habits of life of the physician be kept under strict control. While dealing with the bodies of their patients, they are to constantly remember that the eye of God is upon their work. SpTB15 15.4

The most exalted part of the physician's work is to lead the men and women under their care to see that the cause of disease is the violation of the laws of health, and to encourage them to higher and holier views of life. Instruction should be given that will provide an antidote for the diseases of the soul as well as for the sickness of the body. Only that sanitarium will be a healthful institution where right principles are established. The physician, who knowing the remedy for the diseases of the soul and body, neglects the educational part of his work, will have to give an account of his neglect in the day of judgment. Strict purity of language and every word and action is to be guarded. SpTB15 15.5

Ellen G. White