Sunday, November 23, 2008

Take Grandma's keys, please


WTAE had a story this morning about an elderly woman who was rescued after spending a day in her wrecked car. It appears she hit a tree and drove into the woods. (Actual car NOT shown above) The woman told her rescuers that she had called a family member to come help her, but her family said that wasn't the case. They said the woman suffers from mild dementia. What?!?!?! And they continued to let her drive? I can understand the dynamic involved when children have to switch roles and treat their parents like kids. But there comes a time when failure to take the keys puts not only the elderly person at risk, but everyone who encounters them on the road. Which day is it when Grandpa or Grandma suddenly doesn't know the difference between the pretty green light and the pretty red light, or the brake pedal and the gas pedal? Doctors also need to do more about getting clearly incompetent people off the roads. They have a duty to protect the rest of us and report these people to the proper authorities. I know they don't want to anger a longtime patient, but hey, the rest of us don't want to die because Gramps is a couple sandwiches short of a picnic.

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Blogger PRIguy said...

Screw angering a longtime patient. If a doctor tends to a child who has been abused, the doctor is required by law to report the abuse. If the doctor doesn't, it's malpractice. I know this because I was at the pediatrician's office years ago and an abused child was brought in by a babysitter. The doctor should have some discretion in making a decision that an elderly person may not be able to make.

I think I told the story of my grandfather and step-grandmother. They were both in their late 80s, and he was going blind and she was going deaf. But he continued to drive. She told him when to veer whatever way he had to in order to stay on the road. He drove about five years longer than he should have.

November 23, 2008 at 1:18 PM  

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