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Is there a prayer that is said by others on behalf of someone who is about to undergo a dangerous (non-cosmetic) surgery? Is the מי שברך the most appropriate?

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You can mention their name in the section of the Shmoneh Esrei prayer which is devoted to healing. This addition is included in the standard Artscroll siddur. –  Malper Nov 19 '13 at 23:36
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I would recommend Refuah Shlema. It comes from Numbers 12:13 when Moses asked God to heal Miriam, "Please God, heal her." From my understanding, our sages have taught us that this did not ask for complete healing, but for simple healing. Thus adding the adjective "shelma," asks for a prayer of healing to the greatest extent.

Here is the prayer transliterated and translated:

Mi-sheberakh avoteinu v'imoteinu, Avraham v'Sarah, Yitzhak v'Rivkah, Ya'akov, Rachel v'Leah hu y'varekh et (recite the English and Hebrew name) v'yavi aleihem refuat hanefesh u'refuat haguf yachad im kol cholei amo Yisrael. Barukh atah Adonai, rofeh ha'cholim.

May the One who was a source of blessing for our ancestors, bring blessings of healing upon (recite the English and Hebrew name), a healing of body and a healing of spirit. May those in whose care they are entrusted, be gifted with wisdom and skill, and those who surround them, be gifted with love and trust, openness and support in their care. And may they be healed along with all those who are in need. Blessed are You, Source of healing. Amen.

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rosenjcb, thanks for this. Any further source you can edit into your answer for the idea of saying "Refuah Shlema" specifically, and the linked-to prayer even more specifically, would be beneficial: otherwise, we have only that site's word for it. –  msh210 Jul 22 '13 at 6:20
    
I cited the explanation with an article and I cited the transliterated and translated prayer from, what seems to be, a reputable site, congregation Beth Yaakov. I would have used more citations, but stackexchange only allows me 2 links for now. –  rosenjcb Jul 22 '13 at 17:17
    
Thanks for the edit! –  msh210 Jul 22 '13 at 17:19
    
It's surprising you can say Barukh atah when this blessing is not from the Talmud (or a similarly old source). –  Ypnypn Feb 18 at 0:45
    
It's not a standardized bracha, true; however, it's permissible to say the blessing. I mean, have you ever asked yourself why we say half the kaddish prayers during davening? It's a minhag, what can I say otherwise? –  rosenjcb Feb 27 at 19:34
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