Monday, September 22, 2008

Advocating and caring for elderly parent does not reflect a character flaw

This Blog is about advocating your needs, safety and best interests in the medical care setting. Don't fuss at me too much. This posting is not really off topic. Just stay with my train of thought as best you can . . .

I am an attorney (not licensed, but an attorney nonetheless). I have been on all sides of the attorney-client relationship. (I have been hired as an attorney, I have worked as a paralegal when my boss attorney was hired and, finally, I have hired attorneys.)

There are adequate attorneys. There are terrific attorneys. There are, unfortunately, attorneys whose representation and lack of advocacy cause more harm to a client than if the client was unrepresented by legal counsel.

Whether you are hiring an attorney to represent your family in a medical malpractice matter or a medical debt matter, you need to determine relatively quickly whether the lawyer across the desk from you will be your advocate. I have learned the hard way that not every attorney is an advocate.

Many attorneys are just about the bucks. These attorneys will have paraprofessionals do most of the work in the case. That is not necessarily a bad idea altogether. However, you should become concerned if you are in the law office for a follow-up meeting with the paralegal and the attorney you hired asks your name!

Some attorneys just walk through the motions. These attorneys pride themselves on never getting too involved or emotionally vested in a client's case. IMHO, this type of attorney is worse than one motivated primarily by money.

Being an effective attorney requires a passion. Clients feel abandoned when their attorneys lack passion. In many respects, they are abandoned.

I am a very transparent person. That is undoubtedly evident from this Blog. I really like people and I have a passion to make people's lives better.
Whether I am helping someone by advocating in court, teaching a cancer patient how to knit a chemo cap or attending to the personal hygiene needs of my elderly father, I put every possible bit of my heart and soul into my involvement for and with those in need.

I am (and have always been) very honest with those who I help. Sometimes I have to tell a new knitter that they need to rip out their work. Sometimes I have to hold my dad's hand in the middle of the night when he is scared. And I have to tell dad that no matter what, I will always be there for him. All very honest discussions. Some harder than others.

I honestly believe that my intelligence, ingenuity, tenacity, character, integrity, loyalty and trustworthiness combine to form the perfect foundation for a successful attorney. God willing, those character traits will eventually bring me back into the profession of law.

Hopefully, my current disciplinary attorney is wrong. I hope he is misinterpreting what the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) values as a purposeful life.

Hopefully I do not need to chose between my father's life and getting a part-time job in order to prove my worthiness to practice law, my character and my financial responsibility to the ARDC. Because, in any reality, if I am weighing my father's health against a paying job, my father wins every time.

I am committed to choosing my father.
I have saved my dad's life by being physically with him when he needed medical intervention. I make sure he takes his medications, is clean, properly fed, rested and comfortable.

As many care-giver's know, the decision to care for an elderly parent is often misunderstood as a waste in our country. I wonder whether this prevailing attitude is a signal that Americans are getting emotionally prepared for "universal health care."

I suspect that, under universal health care, expending scarce medical resources on the elderly will be deemed nonproductive and a waste of resources. Then, more of us will be forced to choose between our elderly parent's life and our own lives.

Please always choose your elderly parents! Be their advocate always. Without hesitation, I chose my dad over following my attorney's advise to leave dad and get a part-time job. I would never be able to get these days back with dad. Further, dad would not have survived without my help.

Coming up -- choosing a doctor who will be your advocate.

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