Monday, September 2, 2013

In Search of A Principled Heart in Health Care

"A Principled Heart, that's what we needed.  Just someone with a principled heart."  I could hear the anger through clenched teeth as someone described a dehumanizing experience in a hospital with a dying relative in severe pain as they reflect on "the cartel that used to call itself a hospital."

A FAMILY PHYSICIAN in the best sense is called to have a principled heart.  We care.  We serve.  We'll protect our patients from unnecessary suffering.  We'll preserve their humanity when they crawl through the muck of sickness and ill health and impending demise.

Or will we?  Are we there?  Or are we communicating in real time with the admitting hospitalist, cardiologist, intensivist, oncologist, etc. if we're no longer admitting to hospitals?  Would they let us know if our patient is stuck and in need of a translator or decision maker who is a broad based generalist, able to dance across the confusion of our non-system of health care?  (Like us).

I know we have principled hearts.  BUT, are they connected where they are needed?

What do you think?


  1. Very touching and thought provoking! I think this is one of the reasons why no on wants to die in the hospital. There seem to be few care providers with principled hearts. Heck, let's extend that out to the rest of the professional world beyond medical and see how many folks would truly meet the requirements. In my profession you would find few. I am happy to say that I work for a company comprised of the most ethical, moral and caring people in my profession. I also have a Family Physician who cares. I am truly blessed.

  2. For some reason, Beth's post makes me think of the hidden cost things. The societal cost of polluting is one example of costs that aren't attributed to the activity. In this case, there is a societal cost, in every profession of having unprincipled hearts. The costs are truly extraordinary. I think we need to figure out a way to reward the intangibles that make life worth living. I'm struggling with imagining a system that could make that happen. I hope we can find a way.