I believe that medicine’s potential is much more than the version we see in the world today. A doctor should be an educator with the goal of bringing patients to a place of deeper understanding of who they are in the world. To me, medicine is ultimately about self-empowerment through self-knowledge and growth.
Who amongst us is not captivated by the intrigue and mystery behind the phenomenon of Pyramidal structures on the earth?
It is a phenomenon that goes far beyond the famous Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. That’s just the tip of the… Pyramid Phenomenon.
Experts estimate there are thousands of pyramids all over the world. One researcher lists around 135 in Egypt, mostly in and around Cairo. And there are 240 in Sudan alone! Besides being found in several other African countries there are many others in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and even Asia.
In fact, recently, new pyramids are being discovered with a fair degree of regularity thanks to the advances in satellite technology, like Google Earth. Many of the apparently new pyramids have been detected in remote overgrown areas and had been camouflaged by vegetative growth, until now.
What is the significance of the pyramid to our ancestors? How did the globe get covered with them? And please tell us why many of these pyramids have a similar design of stairs, tall flat towers, and huge 10-plus ton, perfectly cut stone for base and inside, all with no logical way for how they were so evenly put in place, and, in some cases, transported 50 to 100 miles from where they were quarried?
There’s surely more than meets the eye here. There are even claims that pyramids can be found in the ocean! And, there is talk of satellite photos of suspicious pyramidal structures in never-before-settled Antarctica!
The pyramid lives on in the modern psyche and culture, both artistically and practically.
We have the above, renowned French contribution; and, in addition, the pyramid sits on the back of the dollar bill: part of the Great Seal of the United States.
According to the State Department, which is the official keeper of the Seal, the pyramid symbolizes strength and durability. However, its significance goes far beyond that. (Since when is the State Department known for the ability to clarify a global mystery?)
Moreover, we have the much-debated food pyramid, which has evolved somewhat over the years.
I want to mention one final modern pyramid. Listen carefully because it involves you.
I’m talking about two pyramidal organizational charts in medicine that I think about every day. On one hand, there is a pyramid that orients to numbers. Patients make up the bottom layer of this pyramid. They are the largest category of people in the healthcare system. The middle layer is made up of primary care doctors (and support staff in primary care like the RNs and NPs). And at the top comes the highly trained specialist- these are fewer so they are at the top. As you go up this pyramid, the content of specialized information becomes greater but the knowledge of the patient becomes smaller.
Since we think of the top of the pyramid as being special, we might be confused into thinking the ones with the specialized information are the most important element in healthcare. This confusion must be avoided. It’s wrong.
That’s where we have to turn the pyramid upside down, so to speak. Contrast this first pyramid with a second, one that addresses the question: “what’s the point of the entire exercise?” In this pyramid the patient is at the top. The patient is the point. The primary care providers are the ones who have a longitudinal, relationship-based connection with the patient and help keep an eye on the individual goals and priorities. They are in direct service to the entire health of the patient and make up the layer just under the patient. And finally, the specialists and hospitals occupy the foundation of the pyramid, serving the primary care team and the individual patient through their special area of mastery.
The main point I’d like to emphasize again is that the patient is the point. Doctors should know by now that a paternalistic approach with any element of judgment or “top-down” orientation has no place. The correct orientation is to consider the profession to be a servant, cheerleader, and collaborator for the patient.
This view demands that any doctor-centered sentiment be abandoned. Patient-centered or even family-centered care should take its place. That’s having the right pyramidal organization with regard to medicine.
All this to say, the world is mysterious, and You Matter! In a simple way, acknowledging this seems to be a good cornerstone of a healthy philosophy.