When Doctors Fail The Age Test

How many times have we discovered the ridiculous accident that we saw on the news was caused by the elderly grandmother? Maybe kept her foot on the brake? Maybe was in "R" when she thought it was in "D". What are your thoughts when this happens? Are you mad? Do you empathize? Which way do you fall? Full disclosure: part of me ALWAYS gets mad. Couldn't somebody in their family step up and take the keys away? Don't families need a designated driver when folks can't manage anymore? 

One day my mother finally took the reins from my father. He had developed a "tiny" road rage habit. Never hit anybody. Never was involved in an accident (far as I know). But my mother put her foot down. I recall seeing my father one day, looking almost embarrassed to be-----in the passenger seat.

Which leads us to Doctors. As if by magic, we love the idea of our Doctor being attached to us forever. We don't want to switch up, we don't want to find a new one, we want one who's a keeper. It's a trust, a bond, we want death, taxes and our same Doctor til the end of time. 

But you already know what's wrong with this equation. Doctors don't want to pass the baton. Talented people never do. They sometimes need a kick off the podium. A hook to get 'em offstage. If not, things could get ugly. Fast. That fine line between competent and otherwise slips away, and victim's families are quick to zero in a target. Do we regulate the process? Do we put universal standards in place? How do we do that and not infringe into the dreaded "Ageism" territory. I'm really not sure how we get their, but at some point....somebody just has to take the keys.

  

Alonzo LaMont
alonzo@jhmi.edu


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