AHA: Brokaw Calls for Unity Among Healthcare Leaders

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , July 18, 2011

He used a medical analogy to describe the problems we're facing as a nation.

He likened the country to a patient who has arrived at the emergency room after undergoing a massive trauma. Experts, including various medical specialties are all there, and as the patient is suffering in the ER, they refuse to talk to each other because each of them is so egotistical that each thinks they know best how to treat the patient's problems and that their solution is the only one that works. Meanwhile, the family is aghast as the patient suffers and his condition weakens.

The problem: we're the family, and the politicians are the doctors who refuse even to communicate with each other—much less find a compromise solution that will get the patient back on his feet again.

"We have become more divided than united," he said.

We owe more than that to the men and women who serve in today's military, he says. We are now fighting two of the longest wars in American history, and only about 1% of the population has had to make any sacrifices. When they get back, he says, they must ask themselves, is this what we're defending?

We owe more to them, our children, and to the future of this country than to wallow in our differences, he says.

"Can we get to a common ground? Can we find compromise?"

Brokaw reaffirmed his belief in American exceptionalism—the belief that we are the world's beacon of opportunity, but that notion is in jeopardy.

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