Some differences are of our own making. My cultural and religious traditions are not yours. My choices regarding end-of-life care may not be yours.
Other differences are imposed upon us. Will I receive the same attention, accessibility and treatment options as rich folks, abled folks, White folks, straight folks? (BTW: I have never felt comfortable using ‘straight’ as an adjective here because it implies others are ‘crooked’. What might we substitute linguistically?)
Bias and violence against people of color and the LGBTQ community have long been public knowledge, even if not acknowledged. Individuals who are disabled are judged to have a diminished quality of life, deemed not worth saving. The old are dismissed as burdens, with nothing left to contribute. These persons rightly worry that they will not receive the same level of medical care and concern as the rest of the population. Indeed, during the pandemic at least three states planned on limiting care. (Excerpted from my book The Courage to Care: Being Fully Present with the Dying.)
This Week June 28, 2021 the Institute for Healthcare Improvement newsletter includes articles and resources on health equity, racism in institutional heathcare organizations and in maternity care. Access these and more at https://www.ihi.org/resources/.
I am reading Don Lemon’s, This is the Fire: What I tell my Friends about Racism. He writes, “There are times when the conversation gets strained, but if we arrive with love and leave with greater understanding, the national conversation about race and racism might calm down enough to take a more practical turn.” (at 186) Would that this were so, and we create an improved and accessible healthcare system for all.