Maybe Health Care Should Be About Compassion

I recently had an experience that told me not all doctors think it’s just about the money. Sometimes it’s about the health and well being of the patient! I met a doctor who was willing to go above and beyond!

I was recently informed that my brother may need a bone marrow transplant and he needed to find out if I was a suitable donor. All I needed done was to have some blood drawn here locally and send it off to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Washington, DC for testing. The NIH had already sent me the test kit with instructions. Pretty simple, right?


I called a few local hospitals and asked them if they could do the procedure. Keep in mind, this procedure is not covered by health insurance. The most basic answer most of them gave was “NO!”. There’s too much liability involved. Even after explaining that all I needed was to have blood drawn they insisted they did not want to get involved even after I offered to pay them!

Then I called a hospital in downtown LA. After being put on hold and transferred a few times they finally put me in touch with the Chief of Pathology whom I shall refer to here as Dr. John.

“Of course I’ll do it”, Dr. John told me. “It may mean saving your brothers life!”

He told me I didn’t need an appointment and to just show up. On Monday morning I went to this hospital and asked the front desk for Dr. John. They asked, “do you have an appointment?” I told them no but he knew I was coming. Dr. John came down the the lobby to greet me within two minutes. He led me up to his office. There was no waiting. I felt as if I was the only patient he had.

The doctor and I engaged in small talk as the nurse drew the blood. I admit, I am no great fan of needles but this was so professional I felt totally at ease. The doctor even offered to hold my hand!

After the blood was drawn he put the vials into the bags and even filled out the FedEx label for me. I asked him how much I owed him and he said the most amazing thing I have ever heard.

“No charge”, he said.

If I could have awarded him a medal on the spot for compassion I would have. I walked away from that hospital thinking I had just walked through the Twilight Zone. A world where people come before money.

If I’m a match, you can rest assured, I will be off to DC to give as much marrow as my brother needs.

Thank you Doctor John!