Source: This came from the Health Beat newsletter of Valdez General Hospital. Someone supposedly dropped it off at a large teaching hospital.
To each staff member of this facility: as you pick up that chart today and scan that green Medicaid card, I hope you remember what I’m about to say. I spent yesterday with you. I was there with my father. I watched as my dad became a diagnosis, a chart, a case number, a charity case labeled “no sponsor,” because he has no health insurance. I saw a weak man standing in line, waiting for five hours to be shuffled through a system of impatient office workers, a burned-out nursing staff, and a budget-scarce facility, being robbed of any dignity and pride he may have had left. I was amazed at how impersonal your staff was, huffing and blowing when the patient did not present the correct form, speaking carelessly of other patients’ cases in front of a passerby.
My dad is only a file number to clutter your desk on appointment day, but that’s only what you see.
What you don’t see is a cabinet maker since the age of 14, a self-employed man who had a wonderful wife, four grown kids, (who visit too much), and five grandchildren (with two more on the way) – all of them who think their pop is the greatest.
This man is everything a daddy should be – strong and firm, yet tender; rough around the edges, a country boy, yet respected by prominent business owners.
He’s my dad, the man who raised me through thick and thin, gave me away as a bride, held my children at their births, stuffed a $20 bill in my hand when times were tough, and comforted me when I cry. Now we are told that, before long, cancer will take this man away from us.
You may say these are the words of a grieving daughter, lashing out and helpless at the prospect of losing a loved one. I would not disagree. Yet I would urge you not to discount what I say. Never lose sight of the people behind your charts. Each chart represents a person – with feelings, a history, a life – and you have the power to touch them for one day by your words and actions.
Tomorrow it may be your loved one who turns into a case number to be marked off with a yellow marker as done for the day.
I pray that you will reward the next person at your station with a kind word or smile, because that person is someone’s dad, husband, wife, mother, son, or daughter, or simply because he or she is a human being, created in love by God, just as you are.
Today be a little kinder and gentler to everyone you greet and if you are honored to be in the presence of someone who served our country, tell them how much you appreciate their service