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Rome Reports

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Pope to healthcare workers: The patient is not a number, they are a person

The pope had a meeting with the Italian Catholic Association of Healthcare Workers on the 40th anniversary of their foundation. 

Pope Francis once again stressed technology in the field of medicine must respect human dignity. For this reason, he reminded them that they can resort to conscientious objection in order to make their position known.

“The choice of conscientious objection, although necessary, must be carried out with respect so it does not become a reason for contempt or pride. It must be done with humility.”

The pope lamented that more and more the health system prioritizes efficiency and cost reduction over the adequate treatment of patients.

“The effort to treat the sick as people and not as numbers has to be made in our times. We have to take into account the form the health system has progressively adopted.”

He also acknowledged the work of these healthcare professionals, who are often forgotten or even despised.

“In an environment where the sick person becomes a number, you too run the risk of being 'burned out' by tough work hours, the stress of emergencies or emotional impact. It is therefore important that health workers are properly supervised in their work, receive recognition for the tasks they perform and can use the appropriate tools to always be motivated and trained.”

Finally, the pope invited them to be always close to those who need it most: the forgotten and marginalized.