Chocolate + Happy Doctors = Health Care Reform

| 7/23/2009 10:30:31 AM

relaxing massageAfter 10 years as a doctor, Pamela Wible was burned out, “tired of being a factory physician, pushing pills and tests I didn’t always believe in,” she writes in a candid piece for Spirituality & Health (article not available online). “My soul was more than irrelevant; it slowed down the production line and got me into trouble with administrators.”

So she quit her job and held a big community meeting, asking attendees to describe what their ideal medical clinic would look like. And then she built it! (Warning: If you spend a lot of time in your doctor’s bland, hot tub–less waiting room, prepare to get very jealous.)

Clients can enjoy yoga; massage; a wheelchair-accessible, solar-heated saltwater pool; and a soak in the hot tub before their appointments. They relax on plush overstuffed chairs in a cozy office and look forward to warm exams as they’re wrapped in fun, flannel gowns. Antioxidant-rich chocolates and smiley-face balloons surprise the unsuspecting on random patient-appreciation days.

Most of would love to see health care look more like this, obviously, but what I really appreciate about Wible’s analysis is her emphasis on the comfort and well-being of both patients and physicians. Clearly, the health care system doesn’t work for either group, and seeing what’s wrong with the relationship from a self-aware physician’s perspective is incredibly illuminating:

Given that we all pledge to “first, do no harm,” why do we make physicians the first victims? While patients are encouraged to tell all, doctors must remain detached, sterile, untainted by emotions. No “irrelevant” personal anecdotes. No off-the-cuff commentary. Physician self-disclosure is a no-no. Decades of practicing professional distance—emotional and spiritual disconnect—destroys from the inside out. Who really wants to be treated by someone whose heart has died?

Source: Spirituality & Health 

Ralph Marshall
8/5/2009 12:13:48 PM

Why do people become doctors? What is the purpose of living? Is it spiritual advancement (compassion, courage, gratitude)? Or is is scraping a big pile of gold together and guarding it night and day. The doctor I see is new age-y, homeopathic and yet, when I visit (which is as seldom as possible), he spends the 15 minutes that I am allotted with his laptop in his lap and barely looks at me while he is constantly typing; he never, ever touches me and charges $400 an hour (that converts to $800 grand a year gross, minimum). I know that there is plenty of overhead but you get my drift. Human beings are charged with creation. We can create anything that we can think of. We can create Heaven, or we can create Hell. We can create a deep connection to nature or we can create a factory floor. I would love to see this become the standard. Prevention is cheap because the body is self healing for the most part. But our doctors may have to give up their gold plated life-styles.

7/31/2009 6:31:59 PM

Sounds great - but very expensive.

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