Thursday, September 26, 2013

Its not the patient's fault

It is never the patient's fault [unless their ailment was preceded by vast quantities of alcohol and the slurred statement of 'watch this!']. So why do people persist in being so insensitive to sick people? And then there are the people who know what you need to get better even though they never went to medical school. Or their religion will solve your problems.

"You have lung cancer, how many years did you smoke?"
"You have breast cancer, didn't you get your annual mammograms?"
"You just need to exercise and eat better and I'm sure the first 100 pounds will easily come off."
"You didn't pray enough so of course you got cancer." 

Whatever, if you have the ailment you find this all rude, insensitive, and sometimes worthy of a public bashing (e.g. Facebook slam).

But do you expect to run into it from practitioners of alternative treatments as well? I have from my accupuncturist. But at the same time she didn't understand the ramifications of my ailments. She would also ask when my lymphedema was going to resolve itself.

One person in this article is asked by their reflexologist after prostate cancer surgery - what did you do to bring this tumor on? And you hear the stories about someone passed away from cancer - and it is implied that they did not fight hard enough.

Sick people are people too. They may be going through a bad time in their life but they are still are people with feelings and sensitivity - and may be extra sensitive because they aren't feeling well.

Its not their fault.


Unknown said...

BRAVO! Bravo for telling it like it is! People can be so darn senseless and stupid!

I love this post so much, I'm going to link back to it from my blog!

Andrea said...

Yes, I believe that the vast majority of cancers are NOT the individual's fault. But, at the same time, I'm not willing to say "it's not their fault" if a person performs risky behavior that results in cancer...when there's documented proof that cancer is a huge possibility if a person engages in the risky behavior.

For example, smoking. Not all people who get cancer have smoked before. But 4 out of 5 people who have lung cancer did smoke before. They knew it could cause cancer & they smoked anyway. Yes, it's their fault they have cancer. Does that mean we have no compassion for them? Of course not. We always have compassion for people no matter if they caused their own illness or not. But compassion is not the same thing as saying "it's not their fault".

If an alcoholic gets cirrhosis.... yes, it's their fault they have cirrhosis. Do we hit them over the head with that fact? Of course not. That would not be kind nor compassionate. But it doesn't change the fact that the person has cirrhosis by their own actions... by their own fault.

I happen to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. I know the risks involved with that behavior but I do it anyway. If I die from a head injury, which perhaps I would have survived if I had worn a helmet, would I expect you to constantly remind my family of that fact? No. But would I expect you to say it wasn't my fault? "No" to that one too. I gambled & didn't wear a helmet... and I lost the bet. A shame? Yes. My fault? Yes.

A cause to be rude, hurtful, & mean to my family after the fact? No.

God bless~ Andrea

lisa said...

There's always someone to assign blame, my intrepid Auntie died, some months after an (un-needed it turned out) pacemaker operation. Before that she literally traveled all over the country to help her many friends cope with old age. She'd recently visited me in SF at the end of a trip that started in Chicago to help a friend, a stop in LA to see an old buddy from WW2, and then to San Diego for another friends birthday. This was at age 87

She climbed 4 flights of stairs to her flat several times a day.

But she never really recovered from the pacemaker surgery and the blood thinners caused complications (the pacemaker never kicked in once) She declined slowly but surely and died about a year later.

At the funeral my mother said:
"It was the toast. She always had toast for breakfast."

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