I am a person

I am a patient 
and a patient is,
 first and foremost,
 a person.
The physicians and nurses who take care of me are also persons
and expect to be treated as such.
As a patient, I expect to be treated as
a subject, not an object.
I am an end in myself,
not merely a means to serve the ends
of medical science and practice.
I will not allow my humanity to be reduced to a location.
Hence, I am neither a “bed number” nor a “room number.”
Nor will I permit being referred to in dehumanizing terms.
Thus, I am neither a “gallbladder” nor a “heart” nor a “kidney.”
My medical chart and history are about my life, about me;
but by them alone, you can never know me as a person.
I am not an illness,
which is what I have.
Nor am I a diagnosis,
which describes my medical condition.
Rather, I am a person.
Treat me, then, as a person
and you will, at the same time,
treat my illness.
I am impressed by your medical knowledge and skills.
But I even more impressed by your affirming
my value as a person.
I am a patient
and a patient is,
above all,
a person.

Written by Timothy Lent

This planet can provide for human need.

HUMAN is a collection of stories about and images of our world, made by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. It gives an answer to the question what it means to be human and live on planet Earth.  Through these stories full of love, family, happiness, but also justice, hatred and violence. HUMAN brings us face to face with the other, making us reflect on our lives.

I want to share the clip of Dr. Jane Goodall. For those of you who don’t know her…..she is one of the world’s most prominent primatologists and environmental activists. In the clip below, she shares some indispensable words of wisdom. Wisdom that we must listen to carefully if our species is to move forward and thrive.

“If you really want something, you have to be prepared to work very hard, take advantage of opportunity, and above all never give up.”

Please watch the interview from the legendary Jane Goodall. One of my favorites!


Blaming patients: a very human temptation

Being a good doctor requires positive emotional work, understanding, liking, sympathising, commiserating and finding, together with the patient, the best route through a difficult situation.

Illusions of Autonomy

Being human, doctors sometimes blame others when things go wrong. Because they spend most of their time interacting with patients, there is a temptation to blame them. The purist might argue that a patient can never be responsible for suboptimal care, medical error or lifestyle associated disease, but the issue is complicated and deserving of examination. The word blame not only implies fault, indicating that harm is directly related to a person’s actions or omissions, but that they are not deserving of sympathy. If we accept that sympathy is a necessary precursor to empathy, through the stirring of compassion and the will to do the emotional work that is required, its absence could compound a patient’s sense of isolation and vulnerability. Responsibility is a more subtle term, but its effect is the same – the shifting expectation away from the doctor and towards the patient. But patients do have…

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