Empathy video from the Cleveland Clinic
March 2, 2013 10:59 AM   Subscribe

A few minutes of empathy "CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, shared this video, titled "Empathy," with the Cleveland Clinic staff during his 2013 State of the Clinic address on Feb. 27, 2013." SLYT
posted by daisyace (26 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
That's powerful, thought provoking, and very well done, thanks for posting it here.
posted by HuronBob at 11:14 AM on March 2, 2013

Jesus Squaredancing Christ what is this? Direct delivery of dust to eyes? I didn't ask for this! Leave me alone! I'm plenty empathetic!
posted by cmoj at 11:19 AM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would have been unable to resist adding "Incredibly high" as a caption for some guy in the waiting room
posted by thelonius at 11:21 AM on March 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think "worried about paying for this" would be over every patient's head. It was good to see the issues of the staff included as well. Nice video.

Congratulations to the lady married 25 years to the dog! That's an old dog!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:25 AM on March 2, 2013 [7 favorites]

That's dog years. They've only been married 4 years in human years.

(great video)
posted by found missing at 11:29 AM on March 2, 2013

I spent 5 1/2 months at Cincinnati Children's Hospital helping to care for my son, and saw many of these same faces. I wondered what they were going through. What was waiting for them on the other side of the door or at home at the end of the day.

Were they here for a sick child? Helping one get better? Just cashing a check? This brought all that back.

I can't call it a happy memory, but that people have the courage to answer a vocation to help others get better is a powerful thing, and there's not a day that goes by now that I'm home with my son that I don't thank God for the people who made it possible. And I also know that not everyone is as lucky.
posted by EJXD2 at 11:31 AM on March 2, 2013 [7 favorites]

Now I'm sad. :-(
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:32 AM on March 2, 2013

That was a really beautiful video (except for the terribly hokey music, sorry), and a great reminder. Thanks for posting.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:41 AM on March 2, 2013

About halfway through I was thinking "oh how tearjerky" but then by the last bit there were the tears.

I think you could effectively cut this down to that single shot on the escalator, with the two nearly identical looking guys. Tumor was benign. Tumor was malignant. Just that simple.
posted by ook at 12:26 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is such a fine video. It brings to life so many of the issues I hope to work with in my work. And then the guy worrying about the cost reminds me about the elephant in the room: Every single country across the globe are seeking ways to improve the experience and perception of hospitalization. But one huge country is making this research difficult, because commercial interests are extremely confusing. Who is the end-user here? THe patient, the carer, the family, the insurance company, the hospital, the medico company or society?
In every other country there is a clear focus, and while it is still really complicated on it's own, the American way makes it impossible for every other country to plan soundly and safely for it's citizens, because the American health system is the biggest in the world.
posted by mumimor at 12:48 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

They could have put "Worried how he will pay for this" over the head of every single patient shown.
posted by magstheaxe at 12:53 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

This is why it is still, despite all the shit to put up with, a privilege to be in medicine. So many stories, so many moments of intimacy and drama every day.

Last Friday, I arrive to round at the hospital at 6am. I've been up all night with my own sick child and just want to make it through the day. I step into an elevator and there's an elderly man dressed in a hat and tie. The button for floor 7, the cardiac ICU, is already pressed. He's holding a plastic bag from the ER with a bunch of women's belongings in it. He has a far off look of exhaustion and worry in his face and he's clearly been up all night. But he maintains his dignity and forces a smile and a gentle "good morning" to me.

People are amazing and hospitals are generally where you see people in their most difficult moments doing their best.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:05 PM on March 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

I probably would've been more touched if I didn't have the Steven Brill article on healthcare open in another tab.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:16 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is beautiful and wonderful.

Having just read that article about how financially ruthless and exploitative hospitals in America are, there was some bitter irony that somebody in such a horribly broken and evil system produced such a beautiful and wonderful video.

Life is complicated.
posted by edheil at 1:17 PM on March 2, 2013

I'm working on my second (benign) tumor in 6 years and was in the hospital for something else in December just hoping to get out in time for Christmas. This one really got the dust in the eyes going. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle indeed.
posted by twiggy32 at 2:27 PM on March 2, 2013

Nice video.

I was recently very surprised by empathy and kindness from hospital staff. I went in for a minor surgery and everyone from the prep nurse to the anesthesiologist was very kind to me. The nurses at the post anesthesia care unit were specially kind. They made me feel well cared for, not the tiniest hint of irony, condescension, or smugness, all of which I have come to expect.

I went back to the PACU three weeks later with cookies and a thank you note for the staff and they all remembered my name and asked after my family. They told me that no one ever goes back to say thank you.

The biggest surprise is that they remembered my wife's due date and sent a card.

What I am getting at is that unsurprisingly the staff at the bottom of the totem pole are good kind people, it is the administration that is dominated by soulless automatons. Remember to thank your nurses.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 4:07 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

One of my very favorite people in the world is a NICU nurse. She is so kind and caring to everyone around her, and I heard lots of her stories about the interactions she had with parents, that I have no doubt she left everyone having had a much better day than they could have, given the circumstances.
posted by flaterik at 4:10 PM on March 2, 2013

Every time there are any kinds of meetings with the higher ups in the [not the Cleveland Clinic] hospital administration I always go because it's so incredibly entertaining to me what sort of two faced crap they will say next.

My personal favorite was an hour lecture by the head honcho, an MD who was largely retired from clinical care but still ran everything, on the importance of spending more time with patients and "truly understanding and treating the whole person" a week after radical cuts to reimbursement for spending time with patients. The part that really killed me was when he said it was up to the next generation to do a better job.

I understand why the hospital cut reimbursement but it would have been less offensive to me if he had just whipped it out and yanked it for an hour. Because after all, if the people who sign on the dotted line can't/won't make a difference, why are you lecturing the peons on the importance of giving a shit while simultaneously sabotaging any chance they have to make an effort via disincentives and logistical difficulties?

When you say one thing and do another you get all the credit for appearing to care, and that seems to be all anyone looks at these days. When he left via a golden parachute a few months later and moved to some island in the Caribbean, the corporation he sold the hospital to destroyed any chance that might have still remained for patient care to be any kind of priority.

Long story short the next guy driving a $70,000 beamer wearing 35k watch that lectures me on personal responsibility, austerity and the importance of sacrifice gets cut.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 4:41 PM on March 2, 2013 [11 favorites]

Remember to thank your nurses

This times a hundred quadrillion.

In my experiences during a parent's yearlong hospital ordeal and passing, nurses made it work. And made it human; doctors only seemed interested in their speciality. The shortage of enough nurses made long-term care miserable.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:05 PM on March 2, 2013

I was going along only a bit teary until "Daughter is getting married on Saturday. Determined to be there." It hit a little too close to home -- both a family member and a close friend went through that recently. Both were married and their moms passed within weeks.

I don't know how people can deal with such tragedy every day, but I admire health care workers as a whole more than any other profession. What they do every day, while keeping a smile on their face and just constantly giving -- I don't have the strength for it, and I don't know how they do, and I don't know if there's a way to appreciate them enough.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:27 PM on March 2, 2013

Great video, thanks for posting it. Pretty much captures why I'm in nursing school. Treating each other well goes a long way.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 5:49 PM on March 2, 2013

I work in the money side of medicine. I'm glad someone's still making things like this. It's far too easy to get disillusioned by the hordes of capitalists treating people's health as ONLY a profit center.
posted by DigDoug at 6:36 PM on March 2, 2013

My father was recently hospitalized at the local Cleveland Clinic last Monday. He had a simple problem that didn't even require hospitalization, but a couple of days later, he'd gone under general anesthesia for an invasive surgical procedure that, according to his other medical opinion, was probably completely unnecessary. He just happens to be a good candidate for all sorts of extra procedures. That is, he happens to be a likely person to get all sorts of procedures approved by insurance. He will be having a second procedure done next week.

I was simultaneously sickened by my inability to do anything to argue against the recommendation of the doctors holding him captive in their hospital as well as struck with fear because I am the one living "7,000 miles away" from home. I have had good treatment at Cleveland, but they are still running a business. As long as that's true, incentives are not properly aligned, and no amount of "empathy" can change that.

Sorry for the downer comment. The video was nicely executed though.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 4:24 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

In 1971 I spent six months on the porch of a ward at Walter Reed Army Hospital, recovering, waiting for my medical discharge from the Army. The hospital was crowded. The ward I was on held critically wounded soldiers: most beds surrounded with plastic walls, the best they could do for isolation wards I suppose, all beds with portable stands that held bags of this and that liquid, looked like most of the guys died there.

In 2005 I spent three months on the cancer ward at the Puget Sound VA, doing the sterm-cell tango. During that time, half the guys on that ward died there.

In both places the staff was beyond descriptions, words like wonderful aren't even close.

I don't know how they do it. I'm glad they do.

I guess this film is a relevant glimpse of the largely invisible context that makes up our world. It may be a good thing that we swim in such ignorance, that we mete out our empathy in such meager, selected doses. Sure, it makes us into narrow-minded, self-centered assholes, but at least we get to survive.
posted by mule98J at 7:29 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I loved this, thank you for posting.

I hope people keep in mind too that everyone in the grocery store, everyone on the freeway with you, even all those tight-fisted hospital administrators -- they have captions floating around them too. Even when it's tempting to imagine "I'm a dickhead...." appearing over the head of another person, the truth is there's always an end to that sentence. "...because I feel powerless and I don't know any other way to feel in control." "...because all this money isn't making me happy yet, and I can't think of what might work except more money." "...because I'm young and stupid, just like we all were at one time." "...because I hate this job, but I feel too old to make a real change in my life."

I'm not always good at remembering this. But I'm trying.
posted by vytae at 5:57 PM on March 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

The caption above my head right now says, "Reduced to helpless sobbing because at least these people can go to a hospital and get care. Is 37, has been basically bedridden since 2007 with a chronic illness that is poorly understood and has no FDA-approved treatments. Will be loaded into the back of an SUV next week for her annual visit to a doctor eight hours away, because there are none closer who specialize in her disease. Is still more fortunate than many of her friends who have the same illness - has insurance and loved ones to provide her care."
posted by jocelmeow at 5:27 PM on March 10, 2013

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