Sunday, January 30, 2011

What happened to respect & dignity?

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost respect for basic privacy.

A couple of recent examples come to mind – one in the entertainment world, the other on the local level.

Entertainer Charlie Sheen from the television show "Two and a Half Men" was recently admitted to hospital. As we later learned from “unidentified sources” an ambulance was called because Sheen was in pain. I love how media uses these unidentified sources who need their 15 minutes of anonymous fame.

More disturbing to me was this statement in the Associated Press story: “Copies of the [911] call probably won't be ready for release by the Los Angeles Fire Department until Monday, a department spokesman said.” What I don’t understand is why is the information contained in the 911 call being released at all? What possible use does it serve except for the sensational tabloid crap that’s always starving for content? Why is the Los Angeles Fire Department making copies of the call available? Doesn’t individual privacy trump tabloid starvation?

The other example comes from the General Hospital in St. Johns. A friend was in a four-bed medical oncology ward a week or ago. Things aren’t going well and she knows that. But it blew me away when I found out that a palliative care team came into the room to discuss with her moving her into palliative care and had the discussion in front of everyone else in the room. Doesn’t this poor woman deserve basic privacy and more importantly, basic dignity, to talk about her “program” for dying? Are the members of the palliative care team so accustomed to talking about dying that they don’t even notice or care there are other people in the room?

Sure, Sheen is a celebrity but is his right to privacy and basic dignity any lesser than my friend in the St. Johns cancer ward? How have we managed to move so far away from the idea of respect and dignity for the individual?

Your thoughts are welcome.


Wisewebwoman said...

I'm 100% with you on your thoughts. But do any of us, anymore, have any kind of privacy left?

If we think we do it is an illusion.

I feel awful for your friend. I would just hate to be in her shoes. I think more than anything in today's world we are lacking respect.


Chris said...

I don’t know why some people feel the need to know every intimate detail about celebrities, but some do find a twisted satisfaction when a “star” hits rock bottom. Granted, Sheen is no altar boy, but he deserves some privacy especially when dealing with medical problems. Tabloid shows such as Entertainment Tonight, Hollywood Access and that god-awful TMZ add to the problem. I don’t understand why they are so popular.

Of course, this extends to the lives of everyday folks – it seems that many people love their gossip. A sad commentary really. As for your friends experience in the oncology ward, she should have been afforded some privacy. Unfortunately, with the crisis in healthcare, it may have been the only time and place the team could meet. Hospitals are so overcrowded and understaffed and the job of working in palliative care is stressful and very demanding. Not saying that the lack of privacy was right, but sometimes there are no other options.

Very sorry to hear about your friend.

ViewPoint2010 said...

WWW, respect is what it's all about imho.

ViewPoint2010 said...

Chris, I know what you're saying about busyness, etc but I often wonder if that's used as an excuse. I think of the medical receptionist asking all sorts of very personal questions in front of a roomful of people. I believe there is *almost* always another option if you want to find it.