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In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”

My past few articles have been on the unhealthy infrastructure in health care today and how it adversely affects patients as well as physicians, nurses, and those who work within it to serve.

Over the past few weeks, I have seen an inordinate number of patients who are hurting because of the way they are treated by administrative practices within this system. The patterns of conditioning through ‘learned helplessness’ are pervasive and worsening as the systems continue to compete with each other for market share out of greed.

We all comprise their ‘market’. What they forget is that money is not a substitute for care. Care is a choice born of intent. But when physicians and nurses are ‘boiling frogs’, they are unable to provide the care they intended to offer. Their care cannot be limited to a 15-minute office visit done under pressure. When physicians take longer to problem solve, they are reprimanded and punished as it reduces revenue and threatens quarterly profits.

A ‘boiling frog’ is a frog that is heated in water till it dies. The teaching point is – because the torture is started in cold water and heat is applied slowly, the frog does not realize it is being boiled alive. Its senses are sensitized to greater levels of heat. As morbid as this analogy is, this is used to describe how people adapt to abuse. This is no different in health care.

Today’s physicians are no longer seen as healers. On the contrary, they are viewed as tools that serve health care administration in all its extractive methods, merely generators of revenue likened to Pavlov’s dog. Today’s physicians have lost heart and meaning. The mandates that grind them down demoralize and wound them in deep ways.

I left corporate health care 15 years ago when this behavior was escalating. I was unable to live under patriarchal rules. Today, this treatment is being normalized by ‘the powers that be’. For me, this is unacceptable. For others, adapting is their only hope.

It is important to lift the veil, to view the shadow beneath the blanket of illusion projected in marketing ads, with terms like ‘health’ and ‘care’. We must wake up to what is really happening. This is a system that purports to serve. It offers neither health nor care.

When patients wake up and demand authentic care, and physicians gain the courage to speak their truth, the transformation will be the inevitable outcome.

“Health care needs to be examined from the inside out, from the top-down and the bottom up. There must not be any stone left unturned. When physicians analyze the current system in ways in which they were trained to analyze the body, they will be able to identify the pathology that keeps it sick. They will have to reach deep inside and stand in the face of criticism and rejection, with courage and heart to transform their system that has lost its soul.”

~Becoming Real, 2011, by Rose Kumar M.D.

Health care is in crisis. In Southeast Wisconsin, both patients and physicians are struggling to make sense of the lack of consciousness that has taken over the health care system. Morale is at an all-time low.

I implore you all to awaken to the reality of today’s health care system. Nothing can transform without holding the light to it, including the shadow. It is the only way to transform this system into one that actually serves the mission of its vocation. When a critical mass of conscious consumers expects real care, the system will be forced to deliver what is expected.

I believe this is the only hope we have to transform health care. This is also how it will ultimately recover its soul.

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Evidence Based Integrative Medicine