If you talk to someone who works in health care, you may feel undervalued. Joanne Whitney, an 84-year-old retired assistant clinical professor in a pharmacy just at the University of California, San Francisco, feels this way a lot.

One instance occurred many years back when she informed an emergency department doctor that the antibiotic he intended to give would not be effective against the kind of urinary infection she was experiencing at the time.

Seniors Protest Age Discrimination And Claim They Are Treated Unfairly When Dealing With Healthcare Professionals

He didn’t pay attention, even after she revealed her professional qualifications to him. She attempted to see that someone else but was unsuccessful.

Seniors Protest Age Discrimination And Claim They Are Treated Unfairly When Dealing With Healthcare Professionals

Whitney, who has battled lung cancer and carcinoma of the urethra and is reliant on a specific catheter that drains urine through her bladder, said, “I was ignored, and eventually I quit up.” Eventually, the prescription was modified by an outpatient renal service.

Whitney again ended up in the same emergency department early this year, screaming in agony, with another urinary infection and a serious anal fissure, which sent her to the hospital. When she requested for Dilaudid, a strong narcotic that had previously benefited her, a young physician said, “I don’t have any.” “We don’t provide opioids to individuals who come to us looking for them. Let’s just wait and then see what Tylenol does for us.” Whitney said that her agony persisted unabated for a further eight hours.

“I believe the fact that I was an 84-year-old lady living alone had a role. When older individuals enter the room in this manner, they do not get the same levels of loyalty to do anything to correct the problem as younger people. It’s like, ‘Oh, look, here’s an elderly person in distress.’ ‘That occurs a lot to elderly folks,’ says the author”, she said. Whitney’s experiences bring ageism in health care to light, a long-standing issue that is gaining fresh attention as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic, which has claimed the lives of half a million adults over the age of 65.

Ageism occurs when individuals are subjected to preconceptions, prejudice, or discrimination on the basis of their chronological age. One frequent and inaccurate misconception about elderly folks is that they are all weak and helpless.

Prejudice may manifest itself in the form of beliefs such as “elderly adults are unpleasant or difficult to interact with.” It is clear when the needs of older individuals are not acknowledged and respected or when they are treated less favorably than younger people that discrimination has occurred.

Ageism may be expressed explicitly in healthcare settings. As an example, consider proposals for rationing medical treatment (sometimes known as “crisis levels of care”) that stipulate that younger people should be treated before elderly ones.

These criteria, which are currently being adopted by hospitals throughout Idaho as well as portions of Alaska and Montana, are based on a value judgment: the lives of young people are more valuable than the lives of older people since they are expected to have more years remaining to live.