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  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.