By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis is urging healthcare facilities to be more and more homes of welcome and comfort, where the sick person finds friendship, understanding, kindness and charity - in other words, humanity.
The sick - not a number
“The sick person is not a number: he or she is a person who needs humanity,” the Pope told representatives of the Villa Maria Care & Research Group on Saturday. The Italian healthcare company, founded in 1973, has over 9,000 employees in its facilities in Italy, France, Albania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
Treating a person with humanity, the Pope said, calls for the collaboration of all in order to meet the needs of the sick with a spirit of service and an attitude of generosity and sensitivity.”
To achieve these objectives, the Pope said, “it is necessary not to allow oneself to be absorbed by the ‘systems’ which aim only at the economic-financial component, but to implement a style of closeness to the person, so as to be able to assist him or her with human warmth in the face of the anxieties which affect them in the most critical moments of illness.” This, he said, “contributes concretely to humanizing medicine and the hospital and healthcare reality.”
The Holy Father particularly stressed the word “closeness”, saying God uses this method to save us. “The God of closeness became a neighbour in Jesus Christ: one of us.” “Closeness is the key to humanity and Christianity,” the Pope emphasized.
Service in the spirit of Jesus
The Holy Father particularly reminded Christian healthcare workers to carry out their service in the spirit of Jesus, reminding them of His words: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” “Herein lies the evangelical foundation of service to the neighbour.” Taking care of the brother or sister who suffers, he said, means, in this sense, making room for the Lord.
The technological evolution and social, economic and political changes that affect healthcare, the Pope said, “call for a new culture, especially in the technical and moral preparation of health workers at all levels”.
While appreciating the work of the Villa Maria Group, Pope Francis encouraged its personnel to persevere with dedication in the service of human life, hoping that their facilities, which are places not only of suffering but also of hope and human and spiritual experience, be increasingly marked by solidarity and care for the sick person.