Sorry for the little blogging hiatus – I had a long weekend in Boston to celebrate my wonderful friend Lynne’s wedding. I am still running the contest- post your comment to any of my e-Patient Connections blog postings over the next week and you’re in the running to win ePatient Dave’s book “Laugh, Sing, and Eat Like a Pig,” plus a LiveStrong bracelet. A huge thank you to those who already entered!
I almost don’t want to write about Regina Holliday’s presentation at e-Patient Connections, because it was so sad and moving, and here I am sitting at my desk at work. Sure, I’ve cried at work before, but I don’t really want to make it a habit.
Still, Regina’s story is too important to skip. I hope I can do it justice. She is an amazing woman – an artist: a painter, a poet, a mother. She’s also a widow. Her equally amazing husband succumed to cancer. As horrible as that is, it was made moreso because of the poor way he and their entire family were treated by medical professionals while he was dying. Regina is now fighting for reform, and has begun an impressive and creative campaign that involves her artistry – she paints murals that center around healthcare reform.
Check out this NPR story on Regina – worth a listen.
Regina got up and spoke to this room of patients and caregivers, pharmaceutical employees and heads of hospitals, and she did not hold back. She told us how special her husband was to her and her family (of course everyone is now thinking of their own loved ones) and then of how while in the hospital he was set aside, as though he was just another person. In a way that could happen to anyone, and does happen. When he was in pain, the pain meds were not there for him. But missing most was respect, the respect we all hope for when we’re in our last moments. Worse yet was that her autistic son was also quite disregarded.
No one should ever go through what Regina and her family went through, and yet it happens every day.
I am so grateful to Regina for her dedication to healthcare reform and to her bravery for looking the healthcare industry in the face and telling them how wrong they have been. I wish her success.
While the entire audience wiped away tears from her story, the conference leaders began an auction, which benefitted Regina’s choice of charities – an autism charity that has helped her son enormously. The items auctioned were three paintings she had done while watching the speakers the day before, and it raised an amazing $1,500.