4 thoughts on “In a Hospital, Friends Are Not People: Guest Post by Joan DelFattore

  • October 31, 2016 at 10:40 am

    This is an important, relevant, and wonderfully written piece. Thank you for sharing it.

  • October 31, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Discouraging that this is still an issue. The President compassionately addressed this in a Memorandum in 2010, “Respecting the Rights of Hospital Patients to Receive Visitors and to Designate Surrogate Decision Makers for Medical Emergencies,” requesting creation of rules applying to all Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals. Some states have also enacted patient bills of rights that protect these rights, among others.
    Happily, some hospitals are honoring this without question. I had surgery last week and at my request, my friend was given the same privileges and information that a family member would have received. It was a teaching hospital in a top-level university healthcare system so any other response would have been unexpected (at the least.) But hospitals in other settings must do better – and changing demographics will continue to increase the pressure on them to do so.

    • October 31, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks, Carol. Really good to know this. And I’m glad things went smoothly for you.

    • October 31, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      Hi Carol,

      I’m glad you had such a good experience. It’s heartening to know that change is coming.

      A friend of mine, a retired judge, was instrumental in writing the Delaware law that, as of a few months ago, protects everyone’s right to a free choice of medical decision-makers even without a written form – eg, in an emergency situation. You just say what you want in front of two witnesses.


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