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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is There an Age Limit?

by Donna J. Jodhan

For some time now, I have wanted to write about this but for some reason I have put off doing it because I wanted to make sure that I am not the only one who thinks this way. I have heard from many with their similar experiences so I know now that I am not the only one and for once in my life, my imagination has not gotten the better of me. What am I focusing on today you may be asking? Well, here is the question of the day.

Is there an age limit when it comes to how doctors view their patients? I mean: Does a doctor's attitude change towards their patients as they grow older? I used to think not but after some time of pondering this and hearing from others, I have to say that sadly! The answer may be a yes.

In the city of Toronto where I live, there are doctors who seem to believe that treatments for their older patients may not be needed or necessary because of their age. I have personally heard of doctors telling some of their senior patients things like: "Well, you have lived a long life so now that you have been diagnosed with cancer, it's time for you to accept it. You're going to die anyway." Or: "You're 80 years old and why would you want to prolong your life anymore if you are sick?" I personally have had a doctor tell me that I should not bother trying to find a medical solution for my loss of vision because in my lifetime I will never see any type of medical break through for my problem. The sad thing about this particular doctor is that he has served on the board of a prominent agency for the Blind and he has a cousin who is blind.

I have friends who have expressed to me that not only there seems to be an age limit on how doctors treat their patients but it also seems to extend to how they view their disabled patients. I can speak first hand to how some doctors view their blind and vision impaired patients; many of them do not believe that it is worth their time to work towards finding ways to improve the vision of their patients.

Now, one could easily put forward the argument that here in Toronto, doctors as a whole are over worked and under paid or that the health system is just too cluttered and overloaded for doctors to be able to perform adequately. These two arguments may be contributing factors but it still does not change my opinion that there seems to be a definite age limit when it comes to how doctors view their patients.

One final question: I wonder out loud whether or not there is an age limit for doctors when it comes to treating their own parents or other family members? Would their attitude carry over when it comes to their attitude towards older or disabled persons?

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

1 comment:

Parker Owens said...

I have been very frustrated with eye doctors as well. I had a very bad posterior vitreal detachment, I could not see out of my eye, and my doctor basically said that I will get used to it and that there was no option for surgery or anything else. It seems to me if they can do lasik and replace the lens part of the eye, they could replace the fluid in my eye. Some doctors are using lasers to break up matter in the eye also.

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