"History is a sort of tangled web of contradictions. …" said Robert Service, Professor of Russian History at Oxford University.
Because obviously, we don't learn from history, and no time in our history have contradictions been more noticeable than now. I suppose that we have the internet and the social media to thank for it. This tangled web of contradictions becomes more confusing when our leaders are the ones contributing to its propagation.
In the last century, after many wars, conflicts and global changes, many nations united in the hope of eliminating misunderstandings and confusion during conflicts and finding a way for an agreeable resolution. The UN Charter was signed on October 24, 1945, and the EU was founded on November 1, 1993, the African Union was founded on May 26, 2001, the Union of South American Nations signed their charter on May 23, 2008, - just to name a few. All to bolster the economic and political standing of their region. Ideas that make sense in philosophy and ideology, especially in today's mobile and interactive world. Yet the last few years have seen the demise of these principles. The meeting of the G20 going on right now in Argentina is a testament to this madness. It seems that the leaders of G20 members, have come to dismantle the whole unity of our world, rather than strengthen its accord. The real confusing fact is that these are the very countries that worked so hard to unite us in the first place. If history has taught us anything is that nationalism and individualism lead to disparity, which leads to disagreements and conflict.
No place does these contradictions cause more problems than in the task of providing healthcare. Our patients are suppose to be race-less, nationless, and classless human beings with a medical problem. We are not to judge them, but care for their health. It is hard however, to act and be neutral when they are forced to come to us, carrying race, nationality, legality and class flags. Such conditions prevents many from seeking help. Still at times, they risk coming to us at great expense to themselves, often to seek help for a loved one. I once cared for an illegal migrant who brought her sick child to be seen (read her story here). Her apprehensive and anxious state disturbed me so much that I was concerned about her safety. Yet I could not recruit any help for her, due to her lack of trust in me. Today there are many people like her and their suspicion of everyone is causing major problems. The squalid conditions, under which, many live, adds to the dilemma. Consider the possibility of someone among them contacting a contagion and out of fear of getting caught, refusing to seek help. The infection may become a full-blown pandemic, spreading to the general population before we become aware of it.
Telehealth, Telemedicine, and Tele-education could help curb much of these shortcomings. Only if those in power allow it to be implemented properly. Healthcare providers can demand it from their government to remove political hurdles from healthcare environments and allow us and our patients to keep the population healthy. After all, the last thing we need is to deport an individual with a serious contagion across a border to unsuspecting masses. It is cheaper to care for healthy people than sick - regardless of their legal status. Lets start uniting our fractured societies by caring for the sick and the injured - it is a humane thing to do!