Thinking. "Poor thing"

My 10 year old daughter has been sick all week with a loud cough. I've spent part of the time being annoyed at the noise, and the other part of the time feeling sorry for her.

"Poor thing," I said to her one morning. "That's awful."

"Poor thing?" she said. "You mean I'm not a person if I'm sick? Am I a thing?"

She was kidding, but I thought it was a pretty interesting insight. When we give compassion or sympathy, do we unconsciously depersonalise the object of our sympathy?