Editor, The Commercial:
Compassion and quality shouldn’t be compromised just because a patient is over 60 or 65 or has a history of frequent ER trips, multiple hospital stays, or numerous drug allergies. When families are seeing health declines, the changes should be taken seriously. Be careful not to brush them off as drug-seekers or troublemakers. Their concerns could be relevant.
Scolding from ER doctors are also very inappropriate. We should be advocates for the sick. Nurses do not allow the stress of the job to interfere with compassion and empathy. Your assessment and communication can be that bridge between doctor and patient.
Terminal diagnosis should not be discussed over the phone. I believe more conferences, seminars or semesters should be spent addressing terminal illness, death and dying or basic communication in health care.
You do not see too many nurses going the extra mile. I did get to meet one the other day. She came to our waiting room and gave me words of encouragement. She also gave us basic information about the next few hours. An oncologist listened as we sobbed and discussed the pain and suffering the patient has endured, simply because no doctor would listen or take her seriously. He apologized to us about the broken health care system.
To a cancer survivor, pain should be a red flag. It is not normal for anyone to sit and rock back and forth in pain. Weight loss and shortness of breath should be pertinent complaints. Small nodules or lesions should be highly suspicious. If ignored, those concerns can lead to a terminal diagnoses.
Families, I say to continue advocating for your family. Demand answers! Health care providers, please listen. Sometimes, we know what we’re talking about.