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PT and the Greater Good

Anne Frank's House

Published October 1, 2014 3:42 PM by Dean Metz

One of the great benefits of living in England is that the rest of Europe is very close by. I got to enjoy a mini-break in Amsterdam this weekend while my partner gave a speech for his work. The last time I was in Amsterdam was on Yom Kippur, the one day of the year the Anne Frank house is closed. I was not missing it this time! It was an hour-and-a-half in the queue, but well worth it.

This is one of those places I think should be visited by everyone who can. It brings required high school reading to life. I'd forgotten that Otto Frank, Anne's father, had survived and become a staunch human rights advocate until his death in 1980. I had also forgotten about the four people, Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler, and Bep Voskuijl, who helped the Franks and the others.

They risked their own lives, and the well-being of their families, to do the right thing. Imagine keeping a secret for years, even from your own spouse, while risking everything, just to help someone else. When the Franks were discovered and taken off to the camps, the two men who helped them were also jailed.

This got me to thinking about why I became a PT and how politically naïve I was when I started. I was also rapidly losing friends to the newly named disease, AIDS. That is when I started my own political education and made the connection between healthcare and politics.

I grew up in a conservative Republican household and voted as my parents and my uncle dictated. Politics was never discussed because we all did the same thing. As my exploration of my own political views developed, I became quite politically vocal in ways my uncle would never approve. I'm OK with that.

I think as healthcare providers, it's our responsibility to our patients and colleagues to be politically active. It's not enough to advocate for them in a multidisciplinary team meeting if we don't advocate for them with our lawmakers and votes. Likewise, we can gripe all we want on this forum about unfair practices by employers, but if we do nothing more, we are part of the problem.

One of the ADVANCE guest bloggers, Rachel Wynn, is doing remarkable things for the ethical treatment of patients and staff. Here in England, the CPS is very strong in their voice on ethical treatment of clinicians. The APTA does advocate but cannot do it alone. You must join in!

I suppose this visit to the Anne Frank house hit a nerve with me because had I been alive at that time, I too would have been sent to the camps. I would have been dependent on others to help me in my hour of need. In this time of denied claims, difficult productivity targets, and treatments dictated by insurance case managers, how will you step up to help your patients and colleagues?

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2 comments

I was lucky enough to visit the Anne Frank house a few years ago and was also very impressed by it.  It really does hit you, just how precious life really is.  Great message, Dean.  

Lisa Mueller October 1, 2014 7:04 PM

Thank you for sharing. I'm currently a PT student, and all four of my grandparents are Holocaust Survivors. Unfortunately, most of their families were murdered in the concentration camps. It is important to keep their memories alive.

J M October 1, 2014 4:47 PM

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About this Blog


    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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