Practice and Policy
I cite this incident because that transaction in the middle of the night in an emergency room is one which is repeated endlessly in examining rooms, nursing homes, hospitals, and caregiving settings of every kind. The moral truth revealed that night is familiar: every day in countless ways we treat elderly people as somehow less than competent, as children, to be seen but not heard, not addressed directly. Whatever our intentions, we violate their dignity in ways large and small, sometimes with good intentions and sometimes not. But the indignity remains.