I would ask to speak to a supervisor about the termination fee and keep working my way up the food chain until I got the answer that I wanted. Do not complain and be adversarial, just explain the situation that you cannot afford DTV service any longer.People with some authority are not the cold hearted bastards that TV and movies portray them as, they are just people. It will help if you have been a customer for a few years with a good payment record.Besides if you can't pay, it it will do them no good hassle you. They may ask you for a note for her doctor. If you want to avoid the early termination fee, go along with their requests and be nice, it will pay rewards
First off, my best wishes for you and your wife and her treatment. That is indeed a tough road you are travelling.
With regard to DirecTV, you are welcome to rant/unload here, but do keep in mind these are technical forums, and also that they are entirely by customers not DirecTV employees. Often we can offer suggestions on how to contact/work with DirecTV, but nobody here IS (officially) DirecTV. While some of the users here may be employees, they are not permitted to speak on behalf of, or represent DirecTV in these forums, they speak only for themselves.
With regard to your early termination fee, you might also try email. I think the person has changed, but you can try **************@directv.com - she was the Senior Vice Presdident of Customer Relations (I think a new person was recently put in that position, but the email may still work to that office). That office is excellent on resolving issues that fall outside the routine CSR function.