Karen English, a former elementary teacher in Los Angeles and award winning children’s author, titled one of her children’s books with these words: “Speak to me and I will listen between the lines.” In teaching children, she became an astute listener of what children say ‘between the lines’. Her sensitivity to children through her writing has earned her the title of a Coretta Scott King children’s author.
Over the years at the The Center for Primary Healthcare, we have learned to ‘listen between the lines’. Many of our patients who have been with us for twenty years know that we have changed and serve our patients differently as the years pass. The longer you care for human beings, the more you realize that there is a lot ‘between the lines’ that can be missed. However, it is in the space ‘between the lines’ that we are able to extend compassion and care to our patients. Sometimes in the busyness of a physician’s office it can become difficult to ensure that we arrange care for our patients in such a way to protect the privilege to listen well, but we work every day to meet that challenge. Everyday our patients entrust their well-being to our team. This is a sacred trust.
If you have found yourself speaking within corporate healthcare systems, but feel that you have not been heard, we understand. Human sorrows, both physical and emotional are not well served within bureaucracies. Large organizations can do a lot of things really well: create thousands of ‘widgets’, negotiate multi-million dollar contracts, drive profit margins for shareholders--and there can be a place for those things. However, we don’t think that the care of human beings fits well within the structure of corporatized medicine.
One of our children has a quote from Paul Tillich on a plaque that reads:
We would be privileged to care for you and your family. We would hope to earn that sacred trust by listening well to your concerns and providing excellent care.