Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Humanity first - Rules and Regulations later

An ambulance with sirens on

As a general rule, I believe that compassion should be first and foremost - right before any rules and regulations. Although I appreciate and understand the necessity of bureaucracy, we should not bury our own humanity under it. Often I have heard the comment about how the “system” rules and cannot be changed. It is the system that runs the show and makes all the decisions; we humans are just pawns and followers of it.

Whoever made the rules should, however, be (made) aware of exceptions. There are always exceptions, as there are always loopholes to any laws. There is no shame in admitting the occasional merited exception. It is also a statement about the fact that we are not slaves, but have the capacity to make decisions in the face of adversity and with our eyes set on compassion for our fellow beings.

Bureaucracy does not have to become a monster if we are aware of our own powers in the whole process and do not become simple mindless victims. Anarchy is not really an option; constant lawlessness and chaos may work in theory but not in practice, and, in the end, nothing would ever get achieved and no consensus attained.

There are many instances where I have sensed that people lacked any sort of compassion and creativity. I believe compassion is of utmost importance in health care, for example. Whenever I have to deal with emergency admissions, I am stunned at the level of bureaucracy before any treatment. In fact, I did not only have to deal with rudeness and apathy, yet was also asked to pay up first. In cases of emergency, money should never be the first thing whether on the patient's nor on the health practitioner's mind.

I do not think I am merely an idealist (I'd rather call myself a humanist). People's cases should not be seen as numbers or statistics. They are real people suffering for real. Someone who rushes to the emergency room is in a state of confusion; whether they are the afflicted or their loved one is makes no difference here. I hate it when I wanted my son, wife, father to have immediate care, and I am stuck there answering silly and unnecessary questions.

Next time if you are in the position of making a decision, think about your own options. Do not be narrow-minded. Our ambulance drivers wanted to have my one-year-old son who had difficulty breathing strapped on the bed for an almost two hour ride to another clinic.

It's for safety reasons, they said. No, he cannot be held in his mother's arms. It is for his own safety even though his stress level might go up, and he might get worse. Rules of security and rules and rules and there is nothing we can do about it. In a world where people get sued over anything, they are more cautious and stick to the rule. No exceptions.

However, those same people were not heartless. They gave me advice that saved us from an unnecessary ride to a far-away clinic since my son could have medical attention in a close-by children hospital. They informed us even though they were not supposed to. And I really appreciate it because despite their tough façade, they were real human beings who shared our moment of distress. For them, even though their hands were tied, humanity did come first.


Internation Musing said...

As usual an excellent post.
Will create a link later.

Arashmania said...

Thank you very much; I really appreciate it!