What’s the Story, Morning Glory

Post written by Allan Vafi, M.D.

As a child I was fascinated by space, endless outer space and the endless inner space. I guessed the connection would lie in a passage through the 4th dimension. My father, a surgeon, build a telescope so I could watch the craters on the surface of the moon and a cardboard rocket to get me there. I wrote in 1958 the ‘father’ of the American space program, Wernher von Braun, a letter with a request to send me some rocketparts. He sent me a letter back (with a signed picture, but without the rocketparts) and assured me that if I would study well at school I would become a famous rocket scientist or space explorer. During my school years I often visited my father in his lab in the University hospital. He did animal research in the early pioneering years of vascular surgery. I was fascinated by the beautiful complexity and harmony of the human body, so I had to choose: a pathway to outer space or to inner space: astronaut or surgeon.

I decided to go for outer space so I went to Zurich, Switzerland, to the ETH to study Bauingenieurwesen, but got ‘choked’ by legislative systems and tunnel constructions in the Alpes, so far away from my dreams about space, that I decided to return to Groningen and started to study Medicine. And that why I became a surgeon, I love my job and I have never regretted my choice.

Healthcare has to change and the time has come to shift the old paradigm of a self centered disease system to a new 21th paradigm, (re)created from the ‘real’ gravitational center of the health system: the client who cares for its own health and takes the lead in shaping the system that surrounds him/ her. From an inside-out approach to an outside-in approach, which requires a creative destruction/ deconstruction of the system from the outside.

The leverage must come from awareness, health literacy and supported by all ICT possibilities we have, telemedicine, Internet of (caring) Things, augmented reality, AI and so on. But tech must always stay a servant to human connection, not ever give tech the chance to master us, to rise and to take over. Human connection, compassion is the ultimate condition for transferring loving care and healing from one person to another, and you even don’t have to be sick to get better.

There is where pinksocks comes in. It all about connection, meeting and really ‘seeing’ other persons. So lets start a worldwide movement!

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