ILC board members Jennifer Biggs, David Sipiora, LaFawn Biddle – board chair, Nancy Markham Bugbee and Bob Cooper.
I remember a few years ago, I was having a health issue similar to one I had as a teenager. In a conversation with my dad then, I asked him the name of the family doctor that our entire family saw for everything and rarely were we referred to a specialist. “Oh that was Dr. Haus,” he said. “He could tell what was wrong by just looking at you!” That’s the way it used to be – the old-fashioned, but more efficient way. That’s one of the components of slow medicine according to Dr. Victoria Sweet – doctors actually taking time to look at the patient and touch the patient instead of eyes focused on an electronic device or viewing the patient from the doorway. (Sitting down = slowing down.)
Sweet was the keynote speaker at Institute for Life & Care’s Caregiver Recognition Luncheon. She was a physician at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital for 20 years, an experience she chronicled in her other best-selling book God’s Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital and A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine. Laguna Honda was an amazing place – perched high on abundant acreage with a view and serene environment housing 1,200 patients, many with unusual conditions and diseases. Sweet is described as a healer not just a healthcare provider, a bridge builder and pioneer who still believes in personal, face-to-face medical care. At Laguna Honda, she saw patients when they first arrived. She thoroughly examined the patients, looking at the whole and drawing her own conclusions and labeling the most important condition in order to the least important. The body is where the diagnosis is.
After her own assessment, she looked at the medical records accompanying the patient. Then, she made a plan based on efficient and accurate diagnoses. Finally, she reviewed the medications and found that many could be eliminated. She says she was not a natural born doctor and looked forward to the clinical part of her education. She was influenced by Jung and while looking at alternative medicines, she discovered Hildegard, went back to school and earned a Ph.D. in medical history. She looked at Hildegard’s thoughts and experimented with her model.
The Lindas – Linda Louise Fankboner, Linda VG Kelley and Linda Bowen Scott (seated) who was celebrating her birthday.
The body differs from our modern model of the body described as a machine (mechanical medicine). Hildegard’s idea was that the body was more like a plant and the doctor, more like a gardener. Viriditas – greening power – all to heal itself and get rid of what is blocking. Both mechanical and slow medicine can work together (fast and slow) to give a 3D view. To accomplish this, we need a certain kind of time – time that could be accomplished with a three-year plan: 1- Simplify insurance, drugs and forms; 2- Start funding Slow Medicine experiments – a few beds in each hospital (a division of un-regulation); 3 – Offer Slow Medicine education.
Strengthening those who serve others is both the purpose and passion of Institute for Life & Care (ILC) that was founded in 2007 to support the unsung heroes in our communities. The nonprofit, with a campus in Greenwood Village, is locally focused but internationally recognized in helping professional caregivers – nurses, doctors, EMTs, social workers, chaplains and counselors as well as family caregivers “become their best to give their best” through education, inspiration and guidance. For more information: lifeandcare.org or 720-506-4215.
Victoria Sweet, M. D. is the author of this current best-seller from which she shared many ideas and concepts.Photos by Scottie Taylor Iverson
Guest speaker Dr. Victoria Sweet is surrounded by “Caregiver of the Year” award winner Justin Grant, RN at Craig Hospital and 9NEWS Anchor Gary Shapiro who received the “Caregiving Leadership Award.”
Institute for Life & Care Founders LaFawn Biddle (seated) and Nancy Markham Bugbee
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