The golden rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How many of us practice the golden rule in our daily lives?

I was born into a white family and lived my early years in a whites-only, middle-class Chicago suburb. My parents expressed their prejudices to my sister and me. We were expected to associate with certain people and to avoid others. I gave little thought about my thoughts and behavior until I entered the healthcare profession in my late 40s. There I found myself in contact with all sorts of people, some of whom I had been taught to avoid. What to do?

Giving it some thought, I decided to treat everyone equally, to do to them as I would wish to be treated if our positions were reversed. I found that that decision made my life much easier as I then did not need to evaluate each patient as to their social and economic status. I could concentrate on the simple act of care giving, rather trying to tailor my demeanor and actions to the perceived status of my patients. Later in my career, I observed some doctors tailoring their response to the perceived importance of their clients and it disturbed me.

My treatment of my patients was noticed by my supervisors and led to compliments on my work. Often I was told that a VIP patient was expected and that I would be his/her caregiver. I met many of the rich and famous that way. I also found satisfaction in giving the same care to everyone, rich or poor, white or minority, US citizen or undocumented.


Stop signs

Here in Utah, many streets are very wide. Last night I was driving home via a route that was not familiar and I almost failed to see a stop sign to my right and rather lower than normal. Thinking about a near-miss accident, I decided that painting a warning on the pavement about half-a-block in advance would be a useful and possibly life saving sign. All it would need to say would be “Stop ahead.” Painting the stop sign on the pavement would be useful also, but the stop ahead might suffice to promote safer driving.