The power of human touch.

On a day like today (Xmas-day) we should remember there is always a tradeoff between technology and ‘being there’. It isn’t a choice between the one ór the other, but it is a and-and kind of thing.

Lucien Engelen

Director of REshape

October 1995, Massachusetts USA, the Jackson twins were born, weighing two pounds each. Although alive, the staff was well aware of the fragility of the little patients.”

Technology and staff would be doing their utmost to increase chances both girls would make it. At one point after 3 weeks one of the girls suffered from serious complications with a lowering heart rate, respiration and oxygen level. A nurse decided to put the more healthier of the babies in the same incubator as her sister. What happened next is history and actually changed healthcare. When she wrapped her arm around her little sister in need, she instantaneously started to breath normally, heart rate went up and her oxygen level started to raise again. The story hit the news worldwide and the picture above was on the covers of all the major magazine. At present the twins, grownup ladies, are doing fine.

Stanford Physician Abraham Verghese in 2011 gave a talk at TED Global about the Doctors’ touch, expressing the importance of empathy and the human touch.

We have entered an era of exponential growing technology that in some parts seems almost abundant. It is great to see the possible change that can come out of that, creating the opportunity to create a sustainable health(care). At Radboud University Medical Center we are embracing this opportunities with a technological optimistically but scientific approach whilst never forgetting the impact the human touch can make.

On a day like today (Xmas-day) we should remember there is always a tradeoff between technology and ‘being there’. It isn’t a choice between the one ór the other, but it is a and-and kind of thing in my opinion.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy2017! And I would love to read your perspectives on this in the comments below!

@lucienengelen

You might like some of the other ‘glass half full or empty‘ blogs i wrote :

  1. The digital patient : a double edged sword ? How technology can be a blessing but also a challenge to ‘do’ right.
  2. Climate change in health(care) Addressing the denial and neglect of the rising digital age in healthcare.
  3. Always everywhere internet from space. On how free internet from space will make internet access everywhere on the globe possible.
Picture by Chris Christon : Brielle & Kyrie Jackson 1995