Who Is to Blame?

(A response to “Turmoil in Healthcare,” Prime Magazine, Parashas Bo/February 5.)

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is to blame most of all?

Not me, says the nursing home owner. I spend my money on a fancy lobby. You can’t expect me to hire more aides so that your spouse doesn’t get a pressure sore.

Not me, says the owner of the managed long-term care. I can’t give you more hours or an expedited appeal. You have to go to a fair hearing when your spouse is again in the hospital.

Not me, says the owner of the school. I just churn out the certificates for home health aide. You can’t hold me responsible for how well the student has learned the course.

Not me, says the owner of the home health care agency. I accept the certificates at face value.

Not me, says the coordinator. I have to fill a position; I conveniently believe the aides when they lie and say they know how to care for a seriously ill, frail, bed-bound patient.

What does the caregiver say when the aide comes and doesn’t speak English, doesn’t know how to transfer from bed to wheelchair, doesn’t know how to dress the patient?

Hashem, please help me! I can’t go on much longer.

It is time for a cheshbon hanefesh. There will come a day of reckoning and they will be asked, “Did you deal honestly in your business? Did you lessen the suffering or add to the pain?”

A.L.