Personal Journal Public Sharing

Three Tests of a Humanitarian Crisis

The Red Cross says it is. The government says it isn’t. So how do we decide if the current stresses within the National Health Service are more than just seasonal pressures ? Here are three tests.

The “Duck” test: “if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck – it probably is a duck”. How do people and patients perceive not just their own care but the care of other patients beside them in the Emergency Department corridor or Acute Ward ?

The Expert test: What do the people who work with humanitarian crises day in and day out think about the situation ? The Red Cross has spoken, how about other similarly experienced individuals and organisations – what are their views ?

The Rationing Care test: how are clinicians and managers deciding on the best use of resources ? For example when the Emergency Department is overcrowded, which patient do we move into the corridor – the one least likely to come to harm or the patient most “likely to die anyway” ?

Difficult questions that we as clinicians, hospital managers and a community need to answer honestly and together. Not out of anger, but out of understanding and compassion.


“We who have experienced the war directly have a responsibility to share our insight and experience concerning the truth of war. We are the light at the tip of the candle.”
Vietnamese Zen Master to US War Veterans

By ED Compassion

Inviting you to share this journey towards compassion in practice ...
(all views here are my own)

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