Ottawa Citizen

Medic not able to help

- Dear Abby is written by Jeanne Phillips, daughter of Pauline Phillips, the original Dear Abby. Write Abby at or c/o The Ottawa Citizen, Box 5020, Ottawa, K2C 3M4. For a reply, send a self-addressed envelope. Abby covers postage. Include

DEAR ABBY: I am a medic in the Middle East. I was out on patrol with some of our guys when we were hit with a mortar attack. More than one guy was wounded.

I ran to the f irst guy and saw that he was hit. He had a wound I knew he wouldn’t be able to survive. He pulled a letter from his pocket, put it in my hands and pushed me away. It was like he was telling me to go to the next man who needed my attention. Everyone survived except him.

At first, I thought I did the right thing by respecting his wishes to help someone I could save. When I got back and talked to his family, they were angry at me for not trying harder to save his life.

Was I wrong by going to anoth- er man who I could save? Was it wrong of me to take his letter and leave him after he pushed me away twice? Please tell me what you think.


DEAR DOC: I think you were doing the best you could in an impossible situation. Your patient may have instinctiv­ely known he was not going to make it — which is why he gave you the letter. Of course the family was angry that you couldn’t save their loved one — they are grieving. I urge you to talk to a counsellor about what happened and the feelings of guilt you’re experienci­ng. In a situation like the one in which you found yourself, wrenching choices sometimes have to be made.

DEAR ABBY: My father is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. While at a family party, my stepmother started talking about how she and Dad had just visited their friends, the Royal Family in England. I assume she thought she was being funny. My poor father was completely confused. We all felt uncomforta­ble and didn’t know how to handle the situation. She also pretended her friend was his daughter.

My stepmother is a very complex woman, and I need to handle this matter very carefully.


DEAR SAD: Your stepmother is not only “complex and challengin­g,” she has a twisted sense of humour. Ridiculing someone with dementia is cruel and, in my opinion, qualifies as elder abuse. I wonder what she was trying to accomplish by “tricking” your father into thinking her friend was his daughter. Your father — and his assets — may need protection. Please consider discussing this with a social worker .

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