(Forgive the stock photo above)
You may be familiar with what’s known in the diabetes and medical community as #languagematters. It began as a global advocacy movement and now has a lot of research and recommendations behind it. As you might imagine, it reminds health professionals that the language they use with people who have diabetes should not be judging and negative but realistic and supportive. That this affects outcomes.
Similarly, this morning I read in the Scientific American, “Beyond the Gold Rule: Clinicians need to understand patients’ values, not apply their own.” That what also makes a difference in how we tend to people is values. Physicians, largely, of course not all, tend to swim in the sea of their values mostly ignorant of their patients’.
As the author, science journalist Claudia Wallis, points out, “We have to acknowledge the ways in which our own personal biases can shape the way we perceive and respond to patients.”
Here’s a brief excerpt from the article:
“In the arena of medicine, the stakes for making or influencing choices for others can be especially high. Such choices impact people’s quality of life and even their chances of survival. As health care becomes less paternalistic and more individualized, the time seems right for a new ethical guideline. Enter the “platinum rule,” proposed by Harvey Max Chochinov, a professor of psychiatry at Canada’s University of Manitoba: do unto others as they would want done unto themselves.
Chochinov, an expert on palliative care, eloquently describes this principle in his essay “Seeing Ellen and the Platinum Rule,” published last year in JAMA Neurology. He begins with a story about a health crisis affecting his late sister Ellen, who was severely disabled by cerebral palsy…”
How refreshing it is to remind all of us that we all see the world according to our unique experiences, conditioning and values. The whole article is worth reading.