Dr. G is a 43-year-old practising family physician who lives alone in a condominium. He had been raised as Taoist but converted to Christianity after meeting his wife in medical school. He and his wife had no children together and they divorced amicably five years ago. She remarried and has moved to England with her husband. Dr. G also has a brother but lost contact with him many years ago and his parents are living abroad in residency home for the elderly. He did not mind being alone as he was committed to his practice.

Dr. G was recently found walking barefoot along an expressway dressed in his office attire — long-sleeved shirt with tie and tailored pants — when a highway patrol car pulled up alongside him in the late afternoon. By then, he had been walking on the expressway that heads north towards Malaysia with its heavy flowing traffic for almost eight hours. The police brought him to the state mental institute where he revealed to the attending psychiatrist that he had been following God’s orders who had commanded him to walk along that stretch of the expressway as a trial for his eventual transformation into a saint. He was not agitated and calmly welcomed his staying in the hospital as it might be yet another trial arranged by God.

It transpired that Dr. G had been having this conversation with God for a number of months but kept this to himself while he continued to work at his practice. He said that he could hear two male voices — one of which he attributed to God, and the other to the Devil. These voices were not his own thought but occurred outside his head. Of late, these voices had become more frequent and insistent.

Dr. G did not think that he had any problem being a family physician as he believed that a higher calling awaited him and that among the various gifts that God had promised him, would be healing powers. He adamantly denied that he had a psychotic disorder — a condition that, as a doctor, he could describe with exact detail and see these manifestations in some of the other patients in the ward — and has refused all medication. He has indicated that he wishes to return to his practice where, guided by God’s voice, he thinks he will be able to perform miracles by “laying hands” on his patients and eschewing the use medication on them as they are the work of the Devil.


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pp. 238-241
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2017
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