by Robert C. Frank
The recent PBS documentary about the Mayo Clinic produced by Ken Burns and his associates is a reminder of the teamwork between science and Christianity that has often moved civilization ahead in large steps. A team of doctors consisting of William Worrall Mayo and his two sons Will and Charlie started a small clinic in the once small city of Rochester, Minnesota in the late 1800’s and were aided in their work by St. Mary’s Hospital, that was built and managed separately by Franciscan nuns.
The documentary provides an opportunity to compare medical facilities as they existed in the 1800’s with medical science in the 21st century. It shows clearly that God’s creation of civilization has been continuing and often dramatically. Today the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester involves a 2,207 bed hospital with 115 operating rooms located on three campuses.
The documentary also showed how important teamwork was for their achievement. Originally, the doctors maintained the Clinic and the nuns maintained
St. Mary’s Hospital separately but worked together so closely that it seemed
like they were one unit. Over the years, the doctors at the Clinic were noted
for their exceptional compassion for their patients and treated them as their
number one concern.
They were also very open in their efforts to find solutions
to medical problems and shared with each other and with doctors from all over
the world. It was their ability to weave together a wide variety of medical
skills supporting each other that made the Clinic the institution it is today. The
website for the documentary about the Mayo Clinic is: