Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Murray Friedman

Dr. Murray


Honored March, 1985

Dr. Murray Friedman

Known to his colleagues as "Dr. Mesmer," radiologist Murray Friedman brought blessed relief to his patients through his pioneering work in pain control using hypnotherapy.

Although he began by utilizing hypnotherapy with cancer patients, he then extended its use to treat people with smoking, obstetrical, and other problems. "I'm often the court of last resort," he said.

Born in 1904 in the railroad town of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Murray became a railroad laborer while still in high school, making thirty-five cents an hour. Altoona, he recalled, "was not a very pleasant town. The only way to get out of there was to work for the railroad and take a train out." Murray became interested in pursuing a medical career early on. The eldest of eight children, whose father was a tailor, Murray delivered his youngest brother at age thirteen. "We didn't have a doctor," he said. "My mother went into labor. She told me what to do, and I did it."

While only a freshman in high school, Murray applied to the University of Pennsylvania, the school where he eventually obtained his degrees. Meanwhile, he became impressed by the family doctor, a homeopath. "He made me curious about medicine. And my mother encouraged me. She was a remarkable woman, and she wanted me to go as far as I could."