Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Michelle spent Christmas evening in the ER because of a possible malfunctioning of her shunt. All turned out well but we came away realizing that ER doctors do not understand brain injury. After about six hours of watching hospital personnel at computers, and little time at patients’ bedsides, Michelle lost her patience and began to scream. The ER doctor was ready to tranquilize her when the results of her final test came back and Michelle was allowed to leave. Our discharge notes began with a printout on temper tantrums for young children. Please, Michelle was only verbalizing what we were all thinking.

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Let’s put political labels aside for a moment. Help me think through my problem.

I too was a believer in the American dream: work hard, save your money, get a good education and you can accomplish anything. Then my daughter, who was an honor student at the University of Chicago, was hit by a car and suffered severe brain trauma. Then I saw the other side of the American dream: if you can’t produce you’re worthless. In both explicit and implicit ways we were informed throughout the many years since her accident to cut our losses and move on. In the beginning it was through the encouragement to sign DNR orders. Then it was consistent suggestions to put her into a nursing facility.

I think of all those brave men and women who served in our wars and came home seriously disabled. Are they receiving adequate care? We want our government to protect us but do we want our government to care for the casualties of war?

Indeed, according to market principles my daughter and other persons with disabilities can be a financial drain. They can also be a tremendous emotional drain for those caring for them. But they are not worthless. In fact, if the resources are there to care for them so that the caregivers are not overwhelmed, persons with disabilities have the unique ability to take us out of our consumer mentality and show us what life is really all about. They teach us what it means to love.

So, if you don’t want the government to help me care for my daughter show me who will. Or maybe you too think her life no longer has any value.

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Michelle just got back from Ohio where she went to her college friend JP’s wedding to Kelly. Had a great time.

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