Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Psychological Care in Physical Illness

One of my clients, Cynthia, who underwent several brain surgeries, commented: "I'm not sure if some of the operations were necessary. I think it's more about the money!"

Such is a sad case of sensing how health providers can put economic gain above patient needs.

I suppose we can't automatically assume that hospital, medical, or health care providers are our agents or advocates. Resolutely looking out for our best interests, I mean.

Nowadays, we live in a culture where tasks are given priority over mercy or humane service. Sadly, if we're discerning enough, there are schemes that allow doctors and health care providers to profit by denying essential care.

Decades ago, I visited my sister in the ICU of a hospital. She had kidney cancer. After a few complications since being hospitalized several weeks before, she died. Painful, I saw how lonely and depressed she was in her medical setting.

How I noticed a succession of 7 different nurses who saw my sister. Two or three doctors would check on her. Each one of them spent a few seconds or minutes with my sister -- but nobody looked at her as a whole person.

I think our whole health care system is too specialized. Too responsible for an incredible number of patients, with very little time to spend with each. Much less, the training and competence to provide basic psychological care to those in chronic illness.

No wonder, one of my medical doctor-friends once remarked, "You can die faster in the hospital!" How ironic, isn't it?

Proper psychological and spiritual care need to be basic in health care. It always spells the difference between life and death. Longevity of the patient while ill hangs on it.

When someone is frightened or in pain, personal and compassionate care of the doctors etc can be a best medication.