At the halfway point of my Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship, I felt it was a good time to stop and reflect upon the many invaluable conversations we have had and insightful articles and books that we have read. One of our recent evening discussions involved how medicine has become big business.
If there is one reason for physician burnout, it has to be the fact that Medicine has turned into such a business, such a transactional interaction. Unfortunately, it is easy for patient interactions to be purely clinical and transactional in nature. It takes some effort remember that, like Dr. Patch Adams said, “everyone is human – those giving the treatment, those who are getting treated. What they all deserve is compassion and kindness, as a part of the best care they can get.
I recently completed Dr. Patch Adams book entitled Gesundheit! It is the story of him founding a unique institute to care for patients with humor and compassion. It is clear that he is much more than just the funny doctor that Robin Williams portrayed in the movie. Over his career, he has explored alternative medicine, humor, compassion and many humanistic traits to better treat patients.
He designed The Gesundheit! Institute initially as an eco Community and it grew to a medical center in West Virginia. It’s mission is to reframe and reclaim the concept of hospital. He has been able to bring to the world a new perspective on caring for patients. He emphasizes the importance of simple human traits such as laughter and truly listening to the patients
Dr. Adams defines Doctor as a compassionate person who is able to support the uplifting of patient’s quality of life, by any means. It is a lesson we should never forget.