Pope Francis attends a meeting with members of the International Gynaecologic Cancer Society in the Paul VI Audience Hall Sept. 11, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media.
Economic considerations must not be allowed to encroach on the relationship between medical staff and patients, Pope Francis said today.
Speaking to members of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) 11 September, the pope said that humane care of the sick should not depend on the individual doctor but rather be an integral part of health systems.
“Financial concerns should not be allowed to dominate the field of healthcare to the point where such essential aspects as building relationships with patients are overlooked,” he said.
He encouraged medical professionals to forge “bonds of solidarity” with patients and their relatives, and to care for the whole person, including their psychological, relational and spiritual well-being.
“Every patient is a person and, as such, is defined by much more — much more! — than his or her clinical data,” the pope said.
He added: “When a sick person senses that he or she is being treated as a unique person — and you can surely confirm this from your experience — the result is greater confidence in the medical team and greater hope for a positive outcome.”
The pope was addressing participants in a global meeting organized by the IGCS. The event was scheduled to take place in Rome, but is being held digitally 10-13 September because of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to its website, the IGCS was founded in 1985 to “enhance the care of women with gynecologic cancer worldwide through education and training and public awareness.”
The pope praised the work of nonprofit organizations which support patients as they undergo treatment.
“Research, of course, demands significant financial resources, this is true,” he said. “Yet I am confident that a sound balance between these various factors can be achieved.”
“Even so, priority must always be given to people, in this case, women suffering from serious illnesses, but also — let us not forget — to the personnel who deal with them daily to ensure that they can carry out their work in dignified conditions, and also that they can have time to rest to regain strength to be able to move forward.”