To Whom It May Concern:
I'd like to address a situation that arose multiple times during my recent 4-day stay at your facility. I hesitate to do this. I have many positive things to say and am happy to go over all the positives as well, but feel morally obligated to address one issue that I believe needs to be educated to your staff.
This thought has been nagging at me for days, that I needed to come forward and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, but I didn't want to focus on one negative aspect of my overall positive experience. However, because today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I cannot help but remember his wise words, "The time is always right to do what is right." Therefore, I have to spread the word to end a word that many find offensive and unacceptable.
During my stay, I heard four members of your staff use the word retarded, referring to themselves or someone else for doing something stupid. Though I do know this word has latin roots and is used to describe many medical diagnoses, is found to be offensive when used in this manner. The main issue is that people who are literally mentally or physically retarded, find this term when used as a slur, to be highly insulting and offensive.
I am the parent of a child with significant special needs. I run a blog for other parents with children who have special needs. I was not personally offended when this word was used in your facility because I knew it was not done to be hurtful or unkind. However, it was done in ignorance. And ignorance, in my opinion, is the greatest disability. As an advocate for my daughter and all the other beautiful, unique people in this world who find this word offensive, I ask you to educate your staff, let them know that this word is NOT to be used in this manner. The use of this word needs to come to an end.. Not because of one patient's letter and your hopes that you can avoid a letter like this in the future, but because it is the RIGHT thing to do, and because I HOPE that you feel an ethical obligation to do the right thing.
To again echo Dr. King, "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." I hope that as you have now been educated of this word's inappropriateness, that you too will become passionately concerned to spread the word to end this word in your organization.
I'd also like to share a link to a video and a few words I wrote about this on my blog awhile back. http://kidzorg.blogspot.com/2011/05/not-acceptable-r-word-psa.html.
Let me end by thanking all those who cared for me during my stay. I work in the healthcare industry myself and admire all those who provide patient care in any aspect. I hope this email/letter isn't seen as a complaint, but as a plea for progress, and that it is taken seriously.
Thank you very much,
A Plea for Progress
I'm tired and want to go to bed. But something kept nagging at me about my recent hospital stay. I tried to put it out of my mind, I'm just too tired to 'go there' right now. Then I was catching up on Google Reader before drifting off to sleep, and read this post on kidz with quotes from an honorable man and advocate. His call to always do what is right lifted me out of bed and encouraged me to write this letter to the administration of the hospital where I just stayed. Keep in mind that I very literally have decreased blood flow to my brain right now. I know many parts could have been worded better, but here it is in all its raw glory...