As a physician he treated patients for more than fifty years. Now eighty years old he increasingly finds himself on the other side of the caregiving model.
"It's one nightmare after another. Recently, I had an agonizing sore throat after a procedure & tried to convince staff that something had been left in." Afraid to bother an attending physician at night they refused to check themselves. "I finally reached into my throat, found two extra nasogastric tubes caught there, and pulled them out myself."
Even though they know the system doctors often experience as much suffering as do the rest of us. Few take active steps to solve the problem.
There is already enough suffering in the hospital experience. Why does the system add more?
Part of the answer is the abject failure of both lay & physician leaders to appreciate that the definition of suffering must be expanded.
Ask any patient who has experienced the extended pain of a full bladder. They will tell your their pain was often worse than anything to do with their disease. The issue is often short-staffing. Nurses suffer as well.
Meanwhile, executives remote from direct caregiving earn fat salaries. Maybe those paychecks would be justified if those same leaders were dedicated to solving hospital-acquired suffering.
Among the worst indignities is "healthcare" that inflicts unnecessary treatments & "Code Blues" on patients who are not only terminal but have left DNR instructions.
The refusal to prioritize some of these issues as real medical problems instead of minor inconveniences is a problem whose answer lies at the feet of leadership. Their failure to address it demonstrates a cynical disregard for the mission of loving care.
Sacred Encounter painting by Liz Wessel