“Isn’t telling part of the truth the same as telling a lie, Mommy?” With coffee in one hand and the OpEd page in the other, I knew I needed to explain, and I knew that the eyes of a child see complex things very clearly.
As a pediatrician and mother of five, I write this DrDownload blog and frequently feature Richmond’s need for a full service, free-standing children’s hospital. Frances Kay’s recent correspondence in the Richmond Times Dispatch paints a picture of Richmond’s pediatric health care services with clear affection for Children’s Hospital at VCU as she asks us to support them and the status quo. I have a better idea.
While it is true that only 20 percent of children’s hospitals in the nation are free-standing, it is also true that Richmond is the ONLY city its size that does not have one. What we have is good, but it’s not good enough. If every other school has some educational resource that my child’s school does not have, I ask why. If every other city the size of Richmond has built its smallest citizens their own pediatric hospital, there must be plenty of good reasons they have all done so. Could it possibly be better that our children and the doctors have to go to multiple hospitals to give and receive care? I have a better idea.
Bend and blend. Administrators, doctors, and philanthropists must bend their perspective to include all the truths, not just the ones they want to be true. Blend the vastly divergent cultures of the academic and community ways of practicing pediatric medicine, and create something far superior to good. Build the free-standing hospital. Our community will have all the healthcare a child might ever need under one roof with really soft PJ’s and people who love the hard work of caring for children. All the healthcare providers will have a beautiful child-centric facility in which to work and do research. See the solution with the eyes of a child, and complex things often become less so. I have the better idea.
Gayle Schrier Smith, MD
A Bender-Blender-Mother Working To Explain Hard Truths