Recently I have been thinking about the patients’ bill of rights that guarantees patients the right to receive or not to receive medical treatment, among many other rights.
This right is the premise of Walla Walla Community College Theater’s most recent show, “Whose Life is it Anyway?” The play is set in 1985, well before the patients’ bill of rights was a concept.
I worked in health care in the 1980s and remember clearly not only the lack of privacy in health-care setting (such as names and diagnoses written on chalkboards for all to see), but also patients being tied into their beds at night for their “safety.” During this time, patients could be forced by a board of physicians to receive medical treatment against their will.
In “Whose Life is it Anyway?” director Kevin Loomer’s group helps us realize how far we have come in our journey toward fair patients’ rights. The character, Claire Harrison, an artist and sculpture instructor, is severely injured in a car accident, leaving her a C4 quadriplegic.
She wishes to be discharged from the hospital to take her care into her own hands. The doctors refuse to allow her discharge, and medicate her against her will.
But that’s all I’m going to tell you. Come to the WWCC China Pavilion to see what happens to Claire! The show starts Thursday and runs through Saturday at 7 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 a.m. It plays again March 14-17 at the same times.
Being involved in this show, and discussing the lack of patients’ rights in the 1980s has been very intriguing and interesting. The theater students presenting “Whose Life is it Anyway?” remind us of how far we have come in this country with our health-care rights.
I truly encourage you to see this show. Current health-care providers will be appalled at the memory of the pre-patients’ bill of rights era.