The want to be well permeates a person’s life when the first sign of disease knocks on the door of invincibility. I know this not because I am a physician, but because I accompanied a loved one on a far-too-short journey through the horror and poverty of disease. I saw her fear, her suffering, and her eyes filled with the fading of light—she wanted nothing more than the normalcy of good health.
Has medicine become such a business that the human factor has been relegated to the trash heap? Has the paucity of autonomy or even a falling income usurped the humanistic qualities of our worthy profession? Could it be that we lack empathic and compassionate mentors to plant humanistic seeds among young, impressionable physicians? Are we simply selecting the wrong people for medical school? Or does the rigorous training that ensues during the residency years generate an emotional egress of what attracted us to this principled and honorable profession in the first place: to relieve the suffering of a fellow human being, be it physical, social, spiritual, or emotional?