Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stigma over health issues

No one deserves any health issue. However I can say there are two types of ailments:
  1. The ones which just happen - whether a cancer diagnosis or a car accident. There is not much you can do to avoid them. You may have increased your risk by smoking or driving without a seatbelt but the stars aligned for you.
  2. The kind of ailment which is preceded with alcohol or other intoxicants and the statement along the lines of  'hey, watch this!'.
The first category there is no blame. Should be no stigma. Nothing. The patient needs to accept that it happened, and learn to cope with the treatment and resulting lifestyle changes. Some of these are harder than other. I mean a broken leg is much less significant than a cancer diagnosis or multiple sclerosis or cystic fibrosis. But there should be no blame on the patient what so ever.

The second group, I call the self inflicted ailments, that may also involve interaction with public safety officials are clearly containing some blame. It is never a good idea to try to duplicate stunt scenes from TV and movies, nor is it ever smart to do anything that has questionable legality or other such ideas. To these patients I would be happy to lay some blame on them for the self inflicted activity which preceded the ailment.

So why is there a stigma attached to so many ailments. Non smokers get lung cancer. Not all smokers get lung cancer. If someone gets lung cancer it does not automatically put them in to the self inflicted group of ailments which is wrong on so many levels. I did nothing to get my large share of medical ailments so no one should blame me.

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