On this page, we will periodically publish medical nuggets relevant to living a healthy life.

Compassion for the Patient and the Healer

When the heart is filled with compassion, the hands are dedicated to the service of others, the body is engaged in constant help to others, the life of such a person is sacred, purposeful, and noble.

Sathya Sai Baba, Sanathana Sarathi,  p. 309, December 1993

Most physicians and other healers are attracted to medicine because of a calling to help others and to relieve suffering. However, it is not always easy to practice compassionately when we are feeling the pain of the patient. Many physicians turn off their feelings to get through difficult situations, trying not to get attached and trying to avoid “burnout.”  In addition, “burnout” has become a potential problem for many physicians as unfamiliar technology draws their attention to the computer screen at the expense of time with the patient. The current economics of medical practice has also contributed to this problem. As the cost of healthcare has skyrocketed, there is the added pressure for healthcare professionals to see more patients in less time.

A new book offers some practical lessons for healthcare professionals:

I finally understood why training physicians to be more sensitive and to resonate with patients’ emotional distress—a good thing—can lead to emotional exhaustion and BURNOUT. In fact, when I survey students and residents, some of those who score the highest on empathy are sometimes the most burned out.

 

…a research group at Max Planck Institute found that compassionate practice (through metta meditation)…demonstrated links between the “reward circuit” in the brain and the parts of the brain that have to do with understanding and resonating with the feelings of others, and the ability to regulate our own emotions (emotional intelligence.)

 

…evidence suggests that through [meditation] practice, people can act more altruistically and expand their emotional compass.

Attending - Medicine, Mindfulness and Humanity, Ronald Epstein, MD

We can use meditation to control our emotions and maintain a healthy balance.     Ultimately we are not in charge, we can only do our best and leave the rest to HIM.

Give all your burdens to God. Be light and free. Have sacred faith. Without faith, there is no success in life.

Sathya Sai Baba, Summer Course, May 1996

Workshops at the “Sai Medical Conference 2017” will explore “burnout” and how to maintain a practice of compassion for our patients and ourselves.