Selective Empathy: Do you respond with the same empathy regardless of cause-of-death?
Do you respond with the same empathy regardless of cause-of-death?
The death of a likeable person or loved one, in most cases, is a sad occasion for families, friends, and colleagues. And sometimes, the country.
There are circumstances that sometimes leave people questioning why “them”? Such as, they were so young, they were so healthy, they were such a nice person, or they just retired, etc.
BEFORE YOU CLICK OFF: Yes, there are tons of articles relating to COVID. This piece is more about our personal perspective and how we respond to our fellow humans.
Curiously, it seems that when it comes to a COVID-related death, the traditional sentiment of empathy, sometimes turns to reluctance.
In today’s post-COVID world, first, we want to know if that person was vaccinated. This will determine whether we offer our condolences or contempt. If they weren’t, we may offer sympathy, perhaps followed by a mini-lecture, data, and inquiry about why they didn’t get the vaccine. In a judgmental tone of course.
If they were vaccinated, we are apt to be more empathetic and less likely to discuss the ‘whys’.
I have read posts on social media stating that people who did not receive the vaccine, and contracted COVID, should not be admitted to the hospital for treatment. The reasoning is that they had choice which could have prevented it.
Personally, I find this disheartening. Have we become so guided by our personal and political viewpoints that we’re losing our empathy, concern, or understanding for others? However, I defend and respect your right to believe what you believe.
Until we know the private circumstances of that person’s decision, how can we call them out? Aren’t we putting out a blanket opinion about everyone who does, or doesn’t receive the vaccine? Why stop there?
If you drink and drive, get into an accident and need medical attention, well, it was your choice to drink, so, you’re on your own. If an alcoholic continues to drink, bringing on related illnesses, nope, no medical attention for you, you chose to continue this behavior. These aren’t outrageously distorted examples. Where does it end?
But the COVID vaccine issue is different. Is it? Do you believe it’s acceptable for doctors to decline medical attention depending on the individual’s lifestyle/medical choices? Something to ponder.
Because I know individuals who are on both sides of the fence, I made time to listen and learn to understand their positions. Let me add, understanding does not equal agreement. And that is my main point!Understanding someone's point of view, does not equal agreement. It does equal respect and civility. Click To Tweet
And, isn’t selective empathy contrary to all of the kindness, compassion, tolerance, and stop bullying movements?
An esteemed colleague of mine, Joseph Stinson, who has a distinguished career, which includes, Associate in Hospital Pathology; Deputy Coroner; Associate in Forensic Pathology; Grief and Bereavement Counseling; Organ Donation Counseling; Teaching his course in the hospice industry: Death, Dying, Loss and Survival; Keynote speaker; and Extensive background in funeral practice. He currently hosts a weekly Sunday morning show, “Grief Talk with Joe on the Bus”. Links below:
Linkedin: Joseph Stinson
I was a guest on his show recently, here are some of his thoughts that stuck with me:
“Empathy is to be of service to the grieving…without judgment.”
“Empathy is a human trait that we are all given…overlook the frailties of others.”
“Loss isn’t only a death, it’s loss of a job, a relationship…”
Final thoughts: It is not my place to encourage or discourage anyone on what medical-related decision to make. I do not want that responsibility or the repercussions of telling someone how to live.
Furthermore, I have long-term relationships, family, friends, and colleagues who have differing viewpoints. I will not allow one issue to erase or tarnish years of a mutually gratifying relationship.
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