For many hours every day for more than two of the last three weeks, I was in a hospital setting, supporting my beloved sister’s recovery from a major surgery. I have a lot of very personal experiences - of sorrow, helplessness, and moments of grace - that are now part of who I will forever be. This piece is about what I learned from all of this about why so many of us hate being in hospitals and what it would take to create hospitals that are truly designed to support healing.
Despite everything that I am about to say, I am confident that all of us who were with my sister during this time would rate the care we received as excellent. We were in a hospital ranked in the top 5% in the US. Nonetheless, my overall conclusion is that hospitals, as currently conceived and designed, are not conducive to healing. I have no research to cite for any of what I am saying, only my own deep intuitive humanity that speaks to me, my soul’s mourning about what I saw. This mourning is made especially poignant given that I have absolutely no doubt about the dedication, care, and commitment to the well-being of patients on the part of everyone we encountered while at the hospitals. I am not talking here about the rare individual whose spirit has been so damaged that they end up taking their suffering out on other people (commonly known as sadistic). I am talking about a system and a setup in which people whose hearts shine are unable to create a healing environment.