Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 25, 2002
Using commodity words to describe humans degrades
By SR. MARY ELLEN O'NEILL
Why should we stand by and allow service to patients be reduced to marketing and trade language?
As a person and certainly I speak in the name of all persons, I am dismayed by the way in which patients are referred to by those who decide where the health care dollars are directed.
Why should we stand by and allow service to patients be reduced to marketing and trade language? I refer here to the current use of import-export data coming from the Department of Health.
What these terms signify is a reference to the number of patients who are cared for by a specific region. Transfer of patients out of a region are called exports - patient transfers into a region from another region are called imports.
How insulting for a person requiring care and compassion in a time of illness or tragedy to be reduced to the status of a commodity.
Surely policy makers and number crunchers can be more creative than this and at least use dignified terminology when referring to those we have a responsibility to care for.
Another term that I cannot tolerate and which is currently used in the continuing care domain is "bed blockers." This refers to people using an acute care bed while awaiting placement in another level of care. Often these people are the very people who worked hard to build up institutions and services that we all enjoy today.
My roots are in a farming area of Alberta and I am convinced people living in rural communities deserve the best possible core services.
They are not second-class citizens.
I applaud those rural MLAs and others who have taken a firm stand that they will not tolerate a reduction of health services to the Albertans they represent.
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