A letter from Dr. Sheldon Feldman, MD

After fighting for two years, my sister Fern tragically died at age 37, leaving behind three young children and a family that was devastated by her loss.

When Fern was diagnosed with stage-4 breast cancer, I was a resident in cardiac surgery and I spent as much time as I possibly could with her. In the midst of her medical treatments and fighting to stay alive for her children, Fern added as many non-traditional therapies to her medical care as she could possibly find. Although these complementary therapies could not cure her, I observed just how positively they affected her, and watched Fern experience a higher quality of life than was expected for quite a long time.

Although her doctors had been carefully selected because of their excellent reputations, I witnessed things that tore at my heart. There was a distressing lack of simple kindness and compassion shown to Fern by her medical team, and they delivered information on her condition with words so harsh they left deep scars that never healed. As I helplessly watched her slip away, my career path changed. I turned away from my dream of being a heart surgeon and took up the mantle of fighting for those with breast cancer, determined to bring to my patients better care than what I had seen my own sister receive. 

I devoted myself to research and the development of less-invasive breast cancer surgical techniques, never forgetting the higher quality of life my sister had experienced from her non-traditional therapies. In my quest to further improve the experience of a patient facing a complicated surgical procedure, I invited Reiki Master (pronounced ray-key) Raven Keyes into my operating room to assist this patient during the difficult surgery. The results of adding the practice of “Reiki” to the surgical event were remarkable – my patient healed quickly; she had less blood loss during surgery, a shorter hospital stay and faster healing without the need for pain medication. This inspired me to continue combining my surgical skills with what has come to be known as Medical Reiki, continuing to witness remarkable results and higher quality of life for my patients.

It is my greatest hope that it will be possible for patients everywhere to receive the compassionate mind-body energy medicine of Medical Reiki, with health insurance companies recognizing its value and paying for it as a part of standard care. To this end, I am leading Medical Reiki Works, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, to fund research in Fern’s honor to scientifically investigate the results I’ve noted and to show the efficacy of using Medical Reiki in conjunction with allopathic medicine to create better outcomes for patients. I hope you will support this effort. 

Sheldon Marc Feldman, M.D., FACS

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Chief, Division of Breast Surgery & Breast Surgical Oncology; Director, Breast Cancer Services, Professor, Department of Surgery, Montefiore Medical Center, and past President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.