May 19, 2011 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: No sympathy card from physician

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: My daughter recently passed away after a lengthy illness. We are blessed to have had lots of support from friends and family, but I am bothered by the lack of response from her doctor.

We have had the same physician for 17 years. I understand that he and his colleagues and office staff might not have been able to come to the funeral, but is it too much to ask for a condolence card? Is there some medical ethic that prohibits this?

It will be difficult to go into his office for my next visit. I don’t want to stop seeing a competent doctor, but this situation has me very upset. – Crying in California

Dear Crying: It used to be a fairly common practice for doctors to send a condolence card when a patient died, but this is no longer the case, and we don’t know exactly why. Unfortunately, the lack of a personal touch can give the impression that the patient was unimportant, and this is quite hurtful to the family. It might help you be more forgiving if you clear the air and tell the doctor how you feel. It might help him, too.

Dear Annie: Although I agree with your answer to “Worried Stepmom” regarding the equal distribution of the annual cash gifts, there is a channel Dad can take to help 33-year-old “Clark” from simply waiting for the money. An attorney can draw up stipulations for how and when the money can be used.

I have three sons. Two are driven, motivated and have direction in their lives. Our third has always fought depression and, like Clark, would rather watch TV and surf the Internet all day.

Our directives indicate that the receivers of any inheritance continue their education to at least a four-year degree and be employed. (An exception is made if he loses his job.) It could also stipulate mental health assistance, because a 33-year-old does not hang around his parents’ home with no direction unless he is depressed or mentally incapable. – Living It in Louisville


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