Daniel Bernard Hamburg: January 10, 1926 - May 30, 2006
My father died at about 4:20 AM, Tuesday morning, May 30th.
My dad was a proud man who loved his family and was committed to any work that he did. He had a special warmth that people felt and loved. He always acted with generosity, which I have tried to emulate.
He and my mother were married for almost fifty-nine years. They shared a love of each other that was deep, beautiful and apparent to everyone who saw them together.
As circumstances happened, I was the only family member present at the time my father died. It is a rare experience to witness this. He was in a coma and when the moment of death came, it did not occur in a dramatic way, but rather was almost imperceptible, with his already labored breathing simply coming to an end.
Danny was 80 years old and had been ill with diabetes and heart disease for many years. The last two months of his life were spent in a tragic manner; it is an indictment of the "managed care" medical system in this country. "Managed care" as my family (and I am sure many others) experienced it, means that the medical system is controlled by insurance companies that "manage" the cost of care of individuals. They don't consider what is best for the patient but rather assure that, according to their "guidelines", the lowest cost care that is justifiable by the guidelines is provided. During the last two months of his life, my father was transferred six times between five different medical facilites of varying quality. These transfers were driven not by what was best for my father, but by dictates of the insurance companies. Each time he was transferred, the medical staff at each facility treated his case as if he were being admitted for care for the first time. Records of his condition were not transferred with him for consultation by the staff at each facility. Medications were not administered correctly many times. During this time, my dad received food via a tube and on two different occasions, at two different facilities, he was administered a non-diabetic formula, until a family member questioned this and the was situation corrected.
Perhaps those of my generation and my parents generation have an unrealistic expectation of how the medical system should work and what we expected was certainly not what we experienced over the past two months. We worked hard during these past two months to fight the system to assure the best for my dad. There is no doubt that he was a sick man and that he was near the end of his life, but he should have been treated with more professionalism and dignity. In any case it was a heartbreaking way for my dad's life to end.
I will miss my father.
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