3a) Healthcare is diverse
We are in danger of making healthcare too narrow in our understanding. Here are a couple of posts on its vast spectrum!
Healthcare is in part about curing people.
Cure involves quick access to urgent care for all people of all backgrounds and need. I know of some great emergency departments and I know of some that I would never want to be admitted to (and some of those are ones I have worked in!). And the difference is not usually to do with levels of expertise (although sometimes this is the case), but far more to do with the morale, ethos and culture within the department. Where the staff are cared for, nurtured and supported, I guarantee the care they give is excellent. Where there is a top down, bullying approach to management with a culture of lying and blame, I promise you, the care is less than good……We need those departments to be filled with caring, patient-centred professionals, who are able to hold compassion at the fore when pressure and circumstance squeeze them from every side, so that people receive excellent care.
Cure is also about having access to affordable drugs and other treatments like surgery – and not just here, but everywhere….in the USA, where the pharmaceutical industry holds far too much power, and uses it to dominate, rather than serve and benefit others, especially the poor, many drugs are inaccessible. Surgery is too expensive, due to corruption in insurance. I love the way people movements, like those spoken of by Shane Claiborne in the ‘Irresistible Revolution’, are providing alternatives to the greedy insurance companies and challenging the ethics of these often appalling empires, who crush the very ones they are trying to help. Surgery made possible, by the generosity and sharing of others. If you haven’t already done so, get involved with #nicsfight, here in the UK.
And then there is the minefield of cures being deliberately withheld from the developing world because they do not make financial sense…..I listened to a fascinating talk by a lady called Landa Cope recently who challenged this concept head on. She said that the areas in which to invest, if you want to see the biggest growth and return are actually among the poor…….but our motivation must be love not financial gain……but for those motivated by money, the health impact fund and a rethink of international development policy could help!
When Jesus ‘healed’ people, there are 2 different words used. One of them is ‘Iomai’, meaning ‘to cure.’ He took time with those who needed it most to cure them. Where we have medical or surgical cures available, how can we withhold them from people who want and need them? If healing others is part of what it means to be human, as Jesus, ‘the human one’, demonstrated, again and again, then we need to make cures available to everyone. A cure is not earned, it is given! Let’s take the gifts of a cure that we have and make them available to everyone, everywhere…..