The Heroes We Serve
The stories are starting to trickle in, as they always do after these tragedies, of the acts of bravery, kindness, selflessness, and heroism that occurred immediately in the aftermath of this week’s Boston Marathon bombings. We need these stories to get us through—we need to be reminded, as actor Patton Oswalt so perfectly stated on his Facebook page, to look evil in the eye and tell it: “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”
Today, I hope you’ll take a moment to read this article from The New Yorker, “Why Boston's Hospitals Were Ready.” The number of fatalities caused by this act of violence could have been far worse. And the reason it wasn’t was because of the actions, the skill, and the teamwork of the healthcare professionals in and around Boston. In this piece, Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, offers his firsthand account of the chaos and trauma. It makes me sad that we live in a world that requires the level of disaster-readiness he describes, but it also makes me very, very grateful for the people who take on that responsibility.
We talk a lot about patient outcomes and how the design of the built environment needs to take an active role in improving health. And recently, I’ve noticed just how much talk and thought also goes into making sure that hospitals, clinics, hospices, and other facilities are creating the right environment for the entire healthcare staff. This goal, to design a comfortable, positive work environment that allows caregivers to do their jobs better (and to feel supported, emotionally and physically, while they do it), is just as important as patient outcomes.
Let the healthcare heroes of the Boston Marathon tragedy remind you of this.