Crisis of compassion
Climate is angry. Nations are in conflict inside and out. So are religions.
We violate and eliminate those who are not like us or whom we do not like. Because we can.
Rivers are being ravaged and smothered. Hills are being bulldozed flat. Trees are going up in smoke.
Patients are being exploited; doctors beaten up.
Aren’t these symptoms of a world that is cracking? Compassion is in crisis.
Compassion is what makes us human. It is what makes us love and respect everything around us: human and non-human, animate and inanimate.
This October, we shall talk about one facet of that compassion, from the realm of medicine.
Medicine is not an exact science. There is medicine in the books. Then there is medicine that you try on people, who are more than a package of anatomy and physiology.
Palliative medicine (what I prefer to call compassionate medicine) too is born in the textbooks and draws on science. Yet, it is also the discipline that accentuates the inexact dimension of medicine.
Palliative care is about human intangibles like comfort, peace, solace and compassion, too tenuous to fill a syringe or a capsule. It often prescribes a listening ear, a sympathetic hand or mere silent presence in person to light up lives darkened by grim prognoses.
You will read stories of compassionate care right here in the days to come.
Stories of lives that moved on. Of lending strength to cope with the loss and go on.
Of blurring boundaries between cold science and warm emotions. Of skepticism transforming into spirituality.
Do you have a story of compassionate care (or the lack of it) to tell? Please share.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Nor am I an expert in palliative medicine. I do love to tell and share stories of compassion. And I would love to hear your views.
The second Saturday of every October is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.
ALREADY PUBLISHED IN THIS SERIES