Sylvia & Me
Sylvia & Me
Sick while single

Medical bias and discrimination come along with living single in a couple’s oriented society. Dr. Joan DelFattore is single by choice. She had never been moved to do anything, until they tried to kill her. That got her attention.

‘Diagnosed with stage 4 gallbladder cancer, I went to a well-known highly regarded medical oncologist and he really got on a tear about my family situation. When I said no to having a husband, children, siblings or living parents, he questioned how I would manage. I explained about the friends and extended family who had been very supportive through my surgery. My social support was more than many married people get from their spouse.’

Meet Dr. Joan DelFattore

Sick While Single? Don’t Die of Discrimination was the title of her 2017 TedX talk.

Since retiring from a professorship at the University of Delaware, where she wrote about freedom of speech and academic freedom, Joan has been writing about single life, particularly the problems single people encounter when they need health care. Her recent articles have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Washington Post, Herald Tribune, Psychology Today, Quartz, Health Psychologist, Kevin MD, and Folks Magazine, among others. Joan also runs Narrative Medicine workshops for physicians and Writing as Healing workshops for patients and caregivers. She has a Ph.D. in English and an M.S. in clinical psychology from Penn State.