NBC News icon Tom Brokaw — recently, a frequent beneficiary of American healthcare institutions as he has fought cancer — has just offered informed counsel to President Trump and Congress.
Excerpts from his eloquent and poignant, “You Can Find the Entire World Inside Your Hospital” New York Times op-ed:
“As I have learned in the past four years, immigration and health care in America have an organic relationship that may have escaped the president and his supporters …
“American health care is a universe of scientific genius and selfless compassion populated by what seems to be the most diverse population in the country. Spinal surgeons of Russian origin and American training, Ecuadorian eye specialists, Chinese imaging experts, Kazakh physical therapists, East Indian oncologists and an elegant orthopedist from Bologna … I’ve met them all.
“It is not just New York hospitals that are an “ethnic puree” … Most large hospitals are staffed by dedicated workers form just about every continent.
“Rural American patients welcome well-trained Pakistani and East Indian physicians in private practice and small-town clinics.
“In the middle of white-bread Minnesota you’ll see employees of the Mayo Clinic scurrying through the corridors in Muslim head scarves and Sikh turbans… A Mayo-trained Kenyan émigré expertly drew my blood…
“America remains a cherished destination for gifted and motivated physicians, researchers, nurses, stretcher bearers and wheelchair attendants from around the world. They’re on the front lines around the clock, an up-close and personal experience that is critical to this monumental task.
“Those gifted care givers come in many colors from a rich palette of backgrounds. Their world is on a 24-hour cycle of critical decisions, complicated procedures, tender care and emotional
exhaustion. We’re lucky to have them.
“They deserve to be heard not just by their grateful patients. When the president’s emissaries meet with Congress and the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to negotiate health care, our care givers, in their diverse and compassionate glory, should be there, too.”
In his distinguished journalism career Tom Brokaw has rarely produced a more timely eye-witness report on critically important American issues.