I think you were right to say, "Please forgive them" when doctors and nurses don't exhibit public remorse during times of grief.
- RN's Son in Georgia
DEAR RN'S SON: Thank you for describing your mother's response to a patient's passing and how it affected the family. However, I also heard from many health care providers who said that it is their duty to acknowledge the passing of one of their patients, and it should be considered part of the healing process for both the patient's family and the health care provider. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I am a hematologist-oncologist. I try to send a sympathy card to each family after the death of their relative. If I receive a note or a copy of an obituary, I try to call the person to thank them for contacting me.
- Ohio Oncologist
DEAR ABBY: I am a retired medical oncologist. Early in my career, a grieving patient's husband berated me for not contacting the family after his wife died. For 30 years, until I retired, I sent a personal sympathy card and message to each family . Sharing these thoughts also gave me closure.
- Doctor Jack in Arizona
DEAR ABBY: Please let "Grieving" know that one reason the health care professionals did not acknowledge his wife's death may have been they were instructed by the hospital/treatment center not to. In this day and age, when doctors are sued for malpractice, these types of sympathy notes can be used in court.
- Yvonne in Amsterdam