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Granny Dumping

Posted May 14 2010 1:48pm

Today I came across an excellent article in a regular newspaper on "granny dumping".  This is the practice that some families or caregivers have of bringing their elderly relative into the ER and then staying for a while and leaving or leaving flat out. Honestly, this does occur.

Even though it has been some time since I worked emerg, I read a doctor's depiction of such an event and I'll post the link for you in the comments section. I can't figure out whether it is best to laugh or cry so I choose the laughter. Don't take my posting of this kind of thing as any sort of irreverence or lack of compassion. Most doctors care very much and with this empathy must also come some coping strategies.

Over many years of practice I have come to the conclusion that sometimes it is only in hindsight that one can one say that a patient is dying and that, in agreement with the family, no "heroic measures" should be used.  You  can't always tell if one event of pneumonia or congestive heart failure is the acute entity that is the harbinger of death. Life and death are surprising sometimes.

In the case of granny dumping, it is a sad statement about how some elderly are treated and about the rush of a hectic modern day life that pressures the living into treating the dying as though they don't matter or as though they are someone else's responsibility.

I'll post the links.




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