Friday, May 22, 2009

On the need to look down...

A transformative experience is one in which your perception of reality is changed forever. One of mine was during my training (Pulmonary medicine and Critical care) for critical care. It was a long holiday weekend and I had been on call in the hospital for 5 full days... these were the days before hour limits to Doctor's work... and we were doing rounds in the ICU my last morning on call.
As I stood with my rested and well groomed colleagues, I noted that while everyone was looking up at the monitors above each patient's head, and at the charts at the bedside, and closely scrutinizing the mechanical ventilator at the side of the bed... no one was looking at the patient in the bed. The person who was sick was lost amidst the sea of wires, tubes, academic quotations, calculations and the need to beat death.
I slowly walked to the bed and placed my hand on one of my patient's chest... feeling the air go in and out of him. I never saw the world the same way again.
The simple act of looking down... looking away from technology and towards the humanity, towards the spirit itself will change you. In time... it will change the system.
Look up, see the technology that allows better life, but then look down and see the person the technology was meant to serve.

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