WMA welcomes Pope’s message for world day of the sick

The World Medical Association today welcomed a message from Pope Francis criticising attacks on health professionals.

In a message to mark tomorrow’s World Day of the Sick, the Pope declared: ‘Tragically, in some contexts of war and violent conflict, healthcare professionals and the facilities that receive and assist the sick are attacked. In some areas, too, political authorities attempt to manipulate medical care for their own advantage, thus restricting the medical profession’s legitimate autonomy. Yet attacking those who devote themselves to the service of the suffering members of society does not serve the interests of anyone’.

WMA President Dr. Miguel Jorge, said: ‘The annual World Day of the Sick is a fitting moment to deplore all attacks on health care professionals, and we welcome the Pope’s words. It is regrettable that incidents of violence against physicians and health care facilities continue to be reported around the world. These senseless attacks simply add to the suffering and misery of those sick people who are being cared for, either in hospital or elsewhere’.

Dr. Jorge also welcomed the Pope’s call for a personalised approach to the sick.

The Pope said: ‘There are so many kinds of grave suffering: incurable and chronic diseases, psychological diseases, situations calling for rehabilitation or palliative care, numerous forms of disability, children’s or geriatric diseases… At times human warmth is lacking in our approach to these. What is needed is a personalized approach to the sick, not just of curing but also of caring, in view of an integral human healing’.

He added: ‘Dear healthcare professionals, let us always remember that diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic treatments, research, care and rehabilitation are always in the service of the sick person; indeed, the noun “person” takes priority over the adjective “sick”. In your work, may you always strive to promote the dignity and life of each person, and reject any compromise in the direction of euthanasia, assisted suicide or suppression of life, even in the case of terminal illness’.

Echoing the Pope’s message, Dr. Jorge said: ‘In my inaugural speech last year as WMA President I talked about medical students and physicians becoming so exposed to the science of medicine that they are forgetting the emotional needs of their patients. The Pope’s message is a timely reminder to us all’.