Atul Gawande: "Everyone Has Equal Worth"
Atul Gawande, staff writer for The New Yorker, talks about bridging the gap between our aspiration for how we treat one another and the reality of it. He spoke in June at Spotlight Health.
In our divisive times, writer, surgeon, and researcher Atul Gawande says it's especially important to remember this medical principle: all lives have equal worth. He told Lucy Kalanithi, professor of medicine, that when he was a medical student, he remembers caring for a prisoner who arrived at the hospital and verbally assaulted a colleague. "It was not safe for her to participate," says Gawande, "so she handed me the clipboard and said, 'You take care of him.'" He had swallowed a razor blade and slashed his wrists. "It was one of those moments when you ask, 'What does it mean to say all lives have equal worth?.'" He says we're at a moment when people find it difficult to find equal worth in their neighbor. "At the root of it, is shutting off our curiosity about people's lives."
Listen to the conversation between Atul Gawande and Lucy Kalanithi in the podcast, Aspen Ideas to Go.
The views and opinions of the speakers in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.