A few weeks ago a note thanking those involved in the care of a patient was published in the Golden Star.
The tradition to publically recognise individuals in a newspaper has disappeared in large cities. It’s extremely touching. I also think it reflects something much more profound that points to the core of a community’s social wellbeing.
When I came to Golden, I left behind the CT/MR and PET scanners, parking lots, elevators, operating room theatres where you can video conference with people around the globe while performing surgery, robotic arms that respond to voice command, hundreds of nameless co-workers, specialist colleagues of all stripes, ICU, CCU, NICU, and EBUs.
I had spent the first 15 years of my surgical practice in the main stream of academic medicine, attracted as many would be to the pursuit of progress if not prowess in the science of saving lives. Advances in knowledge and technology never cease.
With each step we get closer to something, at times I’m not sure what, but certainly away from where we were.
Ironically, taking the practice of medicine to its bare essentials is teaching me important lessons. Peel away the layers of education, social status, convention, religion, beliefs and you discover the spirit of a community, that unchanging core that guides it through the events of its time. In gestures of mutual support, subtle or public, the values of the citizens shine strong and eclipse the promises of the corporate and institutional worlds.
I’ve witnessed a community prepared to rally at the drop of a hat to assist those in need. Every act, in my mind, is potentially more powerful in comforting, if not healing those in need, than the most cutting edge scientific advance in medical therapy.
Long term residents would probably say: ”that’s just how it’s always been”. As a recent arrival, I say: “Never cease to nurture your rich social traditions”.