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Journal Article


Medina-Walpole A. Geriatr. Nurs. 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2020, Elsevier Publishing)






I think it's a common misperception that working in geriatrics anesthetizes us to mortality. So many in the general public--and even among our colleagues in health care--assume that's "just what we do."

I've been thinking a great deal about that misperception these last few weeks, not only because of COVID-19 but also because of the powerful protests unfolding across the United States in response to race-related violence and discrimination. Like many of you, I see the need for change--and, as a geriatrician, I hear reverberating through it the words of British poet Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.1(p. 2703)

When read at face-value, Dylan's poem--like geriatrics, I suppose--seems a not-so-subtle allusion to death and dying. But I think there's far more there, and I think much of it speaks to what we are seeing, hearing, and feeling in America and across health care.

Too few in our country benefit fully from a good life, let alone "that good night" Thomas references. We see it in socioeconomic disparities that disadvantage communities of color. We see it in a lack of social supports and services for us all as we age. And now, we have seen it--violently and painfully--in very public displays that make race-related violence and discrimination something few can ignore…and none can deny...

Language: en


Ethnicity; Geriatrics; Race; Geriatric; Ethnogeriatrics


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