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A horrific high-speed car crash left Allison Massari burning alive, then enduring unimaginably painful treatments over more than 400 days in hospitals, acute-care rehab facilities and physician offices.

Nationally known motivational speaker Allison Massari spoke at Lancaster General Health Physicians’ Town Hall meeting June 3.

Looking back on those dark days, including many times when she wanted to give up, Massari focuses not on the pain but on the kindness, compassion and determination of her medical providers and other people around her -- and their profound impact on her life.

“Happiness depends on your ability to see all that is beautiful and good, and all that is painful and unfair, and choose compassion, love and kindness anyway,” she said. “Seek to find the good. It’s always there. The power of the human spirit is incredible.”

Massari shared her tragic-turned-triumphant story and unique perspective on healthcare in a powerful and moving speech to Lancaster General Health Physicians’ Town Hall meeting June 3.

These 10 lessons from Massari’s speech speak to the patient-provider connection:

  • One person can change a life. Massari recalls that her loneliness after the accident was worse than the pain of being burned alive. A man arrived on the scene and stayed with her, providing great comfort. She realized how much humans need each other.

  • Every day offers a chance to do good. Everything we do makes a difference. Even when you don’t get a thank you, every act of kindness counts.

  • Being kind and compassionate doesn’t take extra time. It’s as simple as a supportive hand on the shoulder or a look in your eyes. It’s not always about saying the right words.

  • Technology has gone so far, but there is still a vital need for human connections in healthcare. Compassion heals the places medicine cannot touch.

  • Compassionate care isn’t just about being kind. Being an expert at your job, being fully present with your patients and triple-checking your work is compassionate care.

  • Kindness can make the unbearable, bearable. Before a very painful scalp repair, a physician took an extra few seconds to put a gentle hand on Massari’s shoulder and look into her eyes. The physician’s genuine caring calmed Massari during what was a torturous experience.

  • Good can be found in the most tragic of circumstances. Make an intentional choice to build joy alongside pain. Always remember the good in life, whether it’s a smile from a stranger or the pleasure of eating macaroni and cheese.

  • Mean people, including difficult patients, often are acting out of their own fear and pain. Love is the answer, always. When pushed to your limits, you won’t regret being gracious.

  • Never give up on yourself or your patients. We all have reservoirs of strength and courage deep inside us. Remind yourself every day that they exist and use them.

  • Sometimes there is no quick fix in life and no break. We can only dig deep and survive it.

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