Health is not a commodity

Do you feel that medicine has changed since you first started your career in the healing arts? Do you wonder if health care has lost its heart as it has become more standardized, mechanized, and institutionalized? How do we as practitioners of the healing arts stay true to our original intention -- to help, to serve, and to ease the suffering of another? 


In a 2011 interview on NPR, Dr. David Loxtercamp, author of A Measure of Days: The Journal of a Country Doctor shared his "14 Aphorisms"  as a way to convey his hopes and dreams for the transformation of medical care. 

1.   Health is not a commodity.

2.   Risk factors are not disease.

3.   Aging is not an illness.

4.   To fix a problem is easy, to sit with another suffering is hard.

5.   Doing all we can is not the same as doing what we should.

6.   Quality is more than metrics.

7.   Patients cannot see outside their pain, we cannot see in, relationship is the only bridge between.

8.   Time is precious; we spend it on what we value.

9.   The most common condition we treat is unhappiness.

10. And the greatest obstacle to treating a patient's unhappiness is our own.

11. Nothing is more patient-centered than the process of change.

12. Doctors expect too much from data and not enough from conversation.

13. Community is the locus of healing, not the hospital or the clinic.

14. The foundation of medicine is friendship, conversation and hope.


For reflection alone or together:

Which aphorisms most resonate with you? 

Which best represent the best qualities of your organization?

Which are areas of growth for your organization?

Next week: Why we resist extending compassion to ourselves

Supportive Care Coalition