More thoughts on that article on the lack of pain relief for the poor from Thinker:
When I was a nurse, there seemed to be an unofficial kind of medicine for poor people – who might become addicted and for others – who needed pain relief . I recall screaming at some poor resident after he refused morphine for a patient who was having severe chest pain. His reason – he might become addicted. Can recall fighting that battle with some physicians on several occasions.
There is an underlying message that some are a little less human than others. Pain relief is an art – drugs are not the only way of relieving pain. I used to carry plastic rosaries for little old ladies who had fallen asleep with rosary in hand all of their lives. Put the rosary in their hands and they needed less morphine, relaxed, slept. Sometimes, I would quietly sing hymns as I bathed them at night. Pain relief is about drugs and we are good at that, but it is also about recognizing the human being who is in pain as a child of God. The combination of drugs and comfort is quite powerful.
I cannot imagine not having both resources.
There is this great and unspoken truth that we too easily accept – that there is a hierarchy of lives. Some just matter more than others. I do not ascribe racism to it, I think it is much simpler than that, I think it is a matter of distance and life experience. For so many of us the poor – particularly the poor across the world – are not part of our daily lives and so they occupy a less significant place in our lives just like that third cousin twice removed that we never see.
The difference here is that Jesus commands us not to ignore the poor – precisely, I assume, because he knew how easy they were to ignore. And he made it clear that there is no hierarchy of lives – not even his, the holiest of all lives.
As with so much I do not know what to do with all of this – only that it cannot be ignored and that that, hopefully, is the first step in doing something.