Archive for January, 2008

Glenn and Nick “on the same healthcare page”

January 11th, 2008

The other day a very compelling story appeared on America Online (AOL).  I’m sorry that the name didn’t catch my attention, but, in fact, Tony Chen pointed it out to us on his blog.  Glenn Beck, a correspondent for CNN, had a bad experience in a hospital and then shared that experience

What Tony had pointed out was that my recent post on Hospital Impact was also about empathy.  Two of the quotes from that post were:  Maya Angelou who said, "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  And: As we move about in our world every day . . . remember that warmth, concern, compassion, and empathy are NOT bad things.

Glenn had a hospital experience that very nearly put him over the edge, and, in fact, due to the pain cocktail that he had received, he admits that he was even contemplating suicide.  Here are some quotes from his article Put the ‘care’ back in health care, featured on

"At the hospital I was often treated more like a number than a patient.  At times, staff members literally turned their back on my cries of pain and pleas for help."

He went on to say, "I’ve now seen our system at its very best and I’ve also experienced it at its very worst.  But in each case, the difference had nothing to do with whether the hospital had the latest equipment or whether it looked like the Taj Mahal.  It had to do with compassion.  It had to do with respect.  It had to do with treating people the way you’d want to be treated going through something unfamiliar and frightening."

From the website: we find 21 different religious and six different philosophical interpretations of the Christian phrase, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."  Just a few of those are listed below:

Confucianism:  "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you."
-Analects 15:23

Buddhism:  "…a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another:" 
-Samyutta Nlkaya v. 353

Hinduism:  "This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. 
-Mahabharata 5:1517

Islam:  "None of you (truly) believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." 
-Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths."

Unitarian:  "The Inherent worth and dignity of every person:’  "Justice, equity and compassion in human relations…"

Native American Spirituality:  "All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves."

Shinto:  "the heart of the person before you is a mirror.  See there your own form"

Judiasm:  "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." 
-Leviticus 19:18

Compassion If these were not convincing enough, there are nearly 20 more included from other religions and philosophies like Yoruba, Zoroastrianism, Ancient Egyptian, Brahmanism, and the Baha’i Faith.

How is it that the world embraces this philosophy, that the "Golden Rule" is our guide, yet we permit environments in health care that tolerate the intolerable?  This, my friends, is a leadership issue.  Do not blame the employees.  Do not blame the physicians.  Do not blame the environment.  BLAME THE LEADERSHIP.  Hold the leadership accountable.  Every department manager, vice president, or president who allows this should be challenged, should be confronted, and, if it is not corrected, SHOULD BE REMOVED.

It is not a matter of choice. It is not business. It is human dignity.  Transparency provides the information needed to correct these indignities, and if they are not corrected via change, you have not exerted your God given rights as a human being, and this is one time when compassion should be trumped by accountability!