Whole-person care is a word that gets thrown around inside the walls of our clinic daily. Inspired by the way that Jesus healed in the Gospels, we recognize that when a person is ill, more is ill than only the physical denominators of their health, but their feelings, emotions, heart and spirit also play a part.
Dan Fountain illustrated this brilliantly in an address he gave to the World Congress of the ICMDA in Durban in July 1998, drawing from a case study found in Mark 5: 25-34 – the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage.
Considered unclean by the social structure that surrounded her, her daily condition was one of abandonment, rejection, and despair. Her life became defined by her illness and her hope for a cure had long been extinguished. Yet hope was awakened the day that she heard stories about this man named Jesus and the accounts of the way He healed people. With no other direction out, she knew that she needed to somehow encounter this man for her healing.
One day she hears that He’s passing through her town and she steps outside of the boundaries of what was allowed by her society. She, unclean, reaches out as Jesus walks by and touches the hem of His garment, instantly healed.
Dan Fountain continues the narrative: “He [Jesus] knew she had been physically healed. We doctors are usually delighted when we have healed someone physically. Could Jesus not be content with that? No, because the woman herself had not been healed; her life had not yet been restored. Jesus wanted to heal her as a whole person, so he called her back to him. As she lay prostrate on the ground before Jesus, waiting to hear words of condemnation, she heard instead two absolutely incredible words [“My daughter…”], and these two words healed her.
… What heals the broken heart and the wounded spirit? What heals the heart is simply a word spoken to the depths of the spirit of the sick person. It is a word that is understood by the spirit of the person in such a way as to resolve the psycho-spiritual pathology – the fear, the conflicts, the anxiety, the guilt, the despair. When this word heals the inner pathology, the whole person can be healed.”
The question is: Is it possible for us to heal our patients in this way? And if so, how?
Beginning November 18th, Siloam Family Health Center will be featuring a lunch discussion on whole-person care every 3rd Tuesday of the month. All members of Siloam staff, volunteers, trainees and members of the Nashville medical community are welcome to attend.
An article will be selected that focuses on what it means to offer whole-person care with Dr. Morgan Wills facilitating a discussion around the topic presented.
If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to me at Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the reading for the discussion and bring your lunch to join us while we discuss what it means to offer whole-person care.
This week we will be spending time discussing “The Healing Team” from Dan Fountain’s book God, Medicine, and Miracles.
If you would like to read the full length of his 1998 address, we encourage you to read the article here: http://www.cmf.org.uk/publications/content.asp?context=article&id=694