DILL: Why do we treat sick people so poorly?


Why do we treat sick people so poorly?

Recently, a friend and former colleague was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently hospitalized on Florida’s West Coast. Her initial surgical procedure was radical and she underwent many rounds of chemotherapy. She reached out to me by phone from her hospital bed two weeks ago to say she was anxious to obtain a second opinion regarding her condition and prognosis.

Her physician and “hospitalist” were repeatedly rude and abrupt, absolutely refusing to acknowledge her request for a review of her case and flatly disregarding her pleas to facilitate a “hospital-to- hospital” transfer to Moffitt’s Cancer Center.

Her siblings traveled to the Florida hospital from Massachusetts and Virginia, each of them witnessing the rude and hostile treatment their sister was receiving at the hands of somewhat arrogant professionals at the hospital. What on earth has become of compassionate care and empathy?

It seems we treat our pets — cats and dogs — with greater kindness and concern when they become ill or are near death. We need to promote legislation for “end-of-life choices” for men and women and their loved ones, rather than to leave people at the mercy of a healthcare system that appears ready to sacrifice the quality of one’s remaining days in favor of extending a person’s life and pain at any cost!

Maureen Dill

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