I’m outraged!

Most of us face some sort of serious medical problem as we get older, and while we are aware that it may not be an easy thing to face, we believe that those close to us  and the medical fraternity responsible for our care, will help and advise us, aiding us to make the right decisions for our health.

Not so, unfortunately. I’m outraged at the treatment of my husband’s uncle, a  warm, vibrant, active man of around eighty-one years of age. He’s an Italian, so entitled to National Health Care for which he pays nothing at all due to his advanced age. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He received what I presume to be the current treatment for that illness – radiation treatment along with tablets, and is grateful for the treatment given him.

However, a few years after the treatment, he finds that he is completely incontinent and has become a virtual prisoner in his own home. Our anger is not because this has happened, but because he was never told that this could be a possible result of the treatment (and quite often is, according to the specialist who is now trying to treat the problem). At no time was he told about possible complications or even really given a choice as to whether to have the treatment or not.


What right do doctors have to insist or coerce their patients into following a certain treatment plan? This warm, gregarious man, who had recently lost his wife of many years would never have had the treatment if he had known how much it would change his life. He was ready to face his end with dignity. Now there is no dignity left for him. And that makes me angry!

It’s made me realise that we are responsible for our own health and are the final decision makers when it comes to treatment. But we may have to become more insistent and more questioning. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be fobbed off with platitudes or accept a strategy without exploring all the possibilities because we are getting it for “free” from the state.

What are your thoughts? Have you had a similar experience?