We had a really nice brunch this morning for the Cardinal Free Clinics, which is an umbrella organization to support our two student-run free clinics. (We’re trying to recruit more physicians to get involved with our clinic and volunteer.) I’m a co-chair of CFC, so I gave a short little speech and we ended with our dean giving a talk, and one of his points really rang true.
He said that he felt like there had been something of a disconnect between medical advances and what people wanted from their doctors. That we’ve come incredibly far in the past 30 years in terms of medical progress–children with cancer used to mostly die, while now, they mostly live, for example. But seeing and communicating with the patient hasn’t advanced–if anything, it’s regressed. A patient wants a doctor that listens, one that cares, and one that sees the patient as the person, not the disease. But with all the financial and business changes that have come to medicine, we’re no longer really serving our patients the way they want to be served.
We can save and extend life in ways like never before, but our everyday interactions with patients have become dissatisfactory: rushed, pressured, and driven by the mighty dollar, not the needy patient.