Tuesday, June 28, 2022

LEGAL HURDLES

I don't understand lawyers. Maybe some of you have had similar experiences in trying to bring lawsuits on behalf of your children. 

I couldn't get a lawyer to take my case for my son's death. I couldn't get a lawyer to take my case for a car accident when the other driver made a left turn directly in front of me. I had the green light. I can't get a lawyer to represent me for medical malpractice despite years of doctors misreading x-rays and MRI's. And, then followed by office visits where I was told everything was all right. 

The lawyer told me the problem is not "permanent," but can be fixed with another surgery. That would involve risks and a difficult three month recuperation. Plus, I have other medical issues. Well, if you can't handle complex cases, maybe you should not have become a lawyer.

But, the truth came out. Taking any case with less than a seven figure settlement, is just not worth it in a medical malpractice suit. I believe that the surgeons and radiologists in my case did not meet the standard of care. They made repeated incorrect interpretations of my radiologic studies which the surgeons did not pick up on.  The lawyer said it was "their opinions." I know if I made this many mistaken "opinions" as a nurse, not only would I have been sued, but I would have lost my license.

I decided what makes a good lawyer. A person with a very cold heart who easily compartmentalizes things in ways other people don't. Can't help you. Can't make enough money. Good-bye, but maybe you should consult another lawyer. What kind of nonsense is that? What would be the point in that? Other than to waste more time and preparation only to have my hopes dashed again? Who would want to do that?

Yet, I see many liars, reprobates and scoundrels getting represented in personal injury cases that got very good financial settlements. Personal injury seems to be a national industry. It prompts me to ask myself, am I not seen as a good liar? Not good enough to perjure myself in a deposition or in court? Not good enough to fake injuries guaranteed to bring a large settlement. Am I too presentable to bring before a jury? Is it a disadvantage to have always worked and so be unable to game the system? Am I too old to bring a large financial settlement? Yes to all of the above.

So, if I have the additional surgery and I become paralyzed as a result, I can sue. If I die, my husband can sue. But, a lawyer must be contacted before I ever leave the hospital or my remains ever leave the hospital. The lawyer I consulted had the nerve to suggest that the surgeon who finally diagnosed me correctly did so as a result of jealousy for the previous surgeons. So he gave me his diagnosis as a way of pointing out the others stupidity and errors. Even though the lawyer knew the fine reputation this "jealous" surgeon had.

I have to say, that takes the cake. I worked at this same institution for four years. I graduated from its school of nursing. I  know if you are an unprofessional, unethical or an incompetent physician or surgeon, you are gotten rid of one way or another. There are plenty of good, qualified applicants to take the place of anyone who does not meet the standards. I definitely resented the lawyer's insinuation.

I am sorry for venting today. If anyone is contemplating a malpractice suit, wrongful death or personal injury suit, on behalf of your child, I am truly sorry for the tragic events which brought you to a very difficult place. I hope and pray you will have a better legal outcome than I experienced.

Perhaps, medical malpractice laws were written in collusion with physicians and surgeons to protect them professionally. To hell with the patients and families. What makes a good politician or lawyer? The answer to that is nothing good. Very disheartening. I will have to pray on this for sure. God does not desert us. Prayer is free.

       "For in you my soul takes refuge, in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge."  Psalm 57: 1

Love, Rosemarie

                 P.S. I appreciate all comments. Please follow or subscribe to my blog. Thanks, R.

 

Monday, June 20, 2022

FATHER'S DAY BRINGS PAINFUL MEMORIES

 

Time can dull the pain of losing a child, but nothing can erase painful memories. This came to me yesterday on Father's Day as I painfully recalled the death of my late husband, Fred. He died six weeks after our son, Chris, was tragically killed. Fred had been ill for a long time. He had all the major complications of Type1 diabetes. He was only 57, but had been diabetic from a young age.

He was quite visually oriented as he had been an art school graduate and graphic designer. Then a a VP at a small advertising agency and finally, a corporate  Executive Art Director. He was probably one of the most respected art directors in the large city in which he worked. He had won many awards. He treated his employees well. In an an industry known to have its share of verbal abuse and sexual harassment. He was extremely social, funny and ethical in an industry also known to have its share of kickbacks from vendors anxious to land advertising projects. Plus, an industry with a lot of stress which I believe adversely affected his diabetes.

Life is perverse. By the time he died, he could hardly see, was on kidney dialysis three times a week, had lost both legs and three fingers. He was pretty much helpless. And abandoned by most of his family, most of his co-workers and all but three friends. Life is hard and unjust when you suffer with a long term, chronic illness. There are people we come across in life we don't wish harm, but if something happens to them, we are not terribly sorry. Fred was definitely not in that category. I remember thinking at Fred's funeral, where is so and so and this one and that one. The things we remember. Fred was truly a good man, a good husband and good father. I am crying while writing this. Of all people, Fred never deserved to suffer. Life is truly not fair.

About a week after Chris died, Fred asked me to take him back to the cemetery. I had purchased three graves and was planning to purchase one headstone with our three names on it. Fred asked me what grave he would be in. I told him the middle one. He seemed satisfied with that and said, "Let's go." I knew then he would die soon because he wasn't so much giving up as letting go. He had been through thick and thin, but now finally was at peace, knowing that Chris was at peace. I believed and he knew his time was at hand.

When Chris laid in his coffin, I held his hand at the funeral home before visitors arrived. I told Chris how I loved him, how much I missed him, but he had a job to do. I told Chris his job now was to bring Dad home to heaven. And Chris did. He helped bring Dad to peace at last. His suffering was finally over. My Aunt told me she had a vision of heaven. Chris was playing the guitar Fred was in front of an easel and painting.

Fred died on November 2nd. That is a significant holy day in Catholicism. It is when we pray for all the deceased souls to enter paradise. Perhaps, it was God's message to me that he knew Fred was a good man. And now he was at peace with his son. Their suffering was over. Mine would go on for some time yet. I was 53 and both a bereaved parent and widow. Yes, life is indeed hard. We take our blows with our bows.

I was so overwhelmed by Chris's death that it was impossible for me to grieve over Fred. I would think of Fred and say to myself, "Fred died." Then go back to grieving over Chris. Fred's death was like a blip on the radar screen. I couldn't process it until two years later when a good friend suddenly lost her husband. Somehow, I felt the time was right. I took her to the bereavement support I went to when Chris died. I finally was able to open up about Fred.

I think today, while writing this, was the hardest I ever cried over Fred. Perhaps, because I have been in terrible physical pain for the last five months from trigeminal neuralgia and a cervical fusion from several years ago which never fully fused or solidified. I have been praying to Chris and Fred to get me through this and guide my treatment decisions. Maybe, I can finally let go because I am happy with my new kind, loving and supportive husband.

I know he has the same painful memories of caring for his very ill wife. She was even on a ventilator. He found himself alone as well when caring for her. Family and friends said, "Let me know if I can help." We both experienced that. When we called, they were suddenly "busy" or little, if any, help if they did manage to show up. It is hard for either of use to talk about these painful memories. It cannot change what happened. His late wife was good and kind woman. They raised six children together. I know he loved her as I loved my Fred. We both understand what the other has been through. We both honor commitment. We are no longer alone in our distress. I believe, we have a deep and abiding love which has been enhanced by loss. Maybe, if we have loss in love, we love harder. 

I think we both understand each other's past without words. There is no point in hashing out the details. We listen empathetically to each other if this topic does comes up, but neither of us wants to dwell on it. We accept if either of us wants to go to the cemetery, has sad moments or days and keeps old photos. Our pasts will always be our pasts. We cannot erase memories and walk away from love. We will both always have feelings for our late spouses. The is the cycle of life---old, new and renewed. God bless.

                        Love is patient; love is kind.....Love never ends.  1  Corinthians 13:4-8

If you are a bereaved parent who wants to join your deceased child or thinks your spouse would be better off without you, please get HELP immediately from your doctor, 911 or the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255) 24/7.

Love, Rosemarie    

Sunday, June 5, 2022

MASS SHOOTINGS CAUSING PERVASIVE FEAR


I woke up this morning to the news of another senseless shooting in the US northeastern large city nearest to me. Four people were killed and fourteen were injured in a senseless act of violence towards people enjoying the night life the city has to offer. Innocently walking around, listening to music, shopping and eating. 

Now there are four sets of parents, four families in mourning. Another set of fourteen parents and families hoping and praying their children and loved ones will recover and not be disabled by their injuries. No doubt all these parents and families are asking: How did this happen? Why did this happen? How could this happen? Did my child or loved one suffer without me there to help? Did they say anything? Did they think of me? Did they pray? Could more have been done to save or help him or her?

I know how you feel. I have walked in your shoes. My son, Chris, bled to death in the backyard of his shooting assailant while she calmly stayed on her back porch. He was seven hours away from home. She went nowhere near Chris to aid or comfort him. My Chris, who she knew well and said she loved. When she called the police, she said my son was a drug overdose. Toxicology screens later revealed he had no drugs in his system. He was not a drug abuser. One of many lies she told. She was known in the community. She had strong ties as her father was a politician, a powerful local official and past officer in the miner's union. A union with past rough and dangerous leaders. I believe her father fit in that category.

The hospital never called me. The local police came to my home to notify me. I tried to explain to them that there were many holes in their explanations. All to no avail. Then, all I could think of was how I was going to tell my husband, Chris' father. He was in a nursing home. He had all the major complications of diabetes. He was not expected to recover. He died six weeks later.  

There were some irregularities and delays in the actions of the EMT's who were called. There were even more irregularities in the actions of the medical examiner. And a stubborn county solicitor who refused to look at all the facts. After many requests, the medical examiner agreed to send the results of his autopsy to my personal physician. I went over it with him. To my horror and profound sadness, he told me Chris should have survived his injuries. He did not get the proper emergency care. There remained unexplained delays. 

Due to her father's influence, there was never any media coverage of my son's shooting. Nor, was there ever any inquest. And much resistance from the police to investigate Chris' assailant and to properly investigate the scene. The sum total of this was Chris never got any justice and never will unless someone comes forward with the truth. My only hope is someone one day will spill their knowledge to the police in return for leniency for themselves. But will the police even want to hear it or act on it? Not so long as her father lives.

I suppose all these recent shootings prompted me to think of this young woman and her parents. I wanted to ask her if her parents were still alive. If not, I wanted to tell her I hoped they were in hell where she will one day join them to finally get the punishment she deserves. No one escapes final eternal justice which is far more terrifying than earthly justice. I take comfort in that. Sometimes that is all we have when a perpetrator escapes earthly punishment and corruption abounds. She robbed Chris of his life, but I will not let her destroy mine.

As William Faulkner said at the end of one his novels, "They endured." And so we do as bereaved parents. Parents whose children were snatched away by unexplainable gun violence. Often shot by a person with an illegal gun. A person with the past history of violence and felonies who never should have had a gun. A person who is severely mentally ill and therefore dangerous in their delusions. Another person who should have never gotten a gun. 

As bereaved parents, whose children were victims of crime, questions persist and swirl in our heads. I found it helpful to write a letter to my son to express all my feelings, all my regrets and ask him all my questions about really happened. I buried the letter with him at the cemetery. To put to rest all that was swirling in my head. I then put the same issues on  individual scraps of paper  in a small box at home. When concerns started swirling in my head, I said to myself they were safe at the cemetery with Chris and in the little box. God would reveal all in His good time. This helped tremendously.

Yet, here we again burdened in the US with the thought that more kids could be shot in school, shot on the way to and from school or when just playing outside or going to the mall, to church, at a club or enjoying a night on the town. And as adults we are not safe either. With rising crime rates, I am fearful for my new husband and myself. I am terrified to go into the above-mentioned city. We have a new car. My husband went into the super market , yesterday, while I stayed in the car and listened to music. It occurred to me that this was unsafe. That our car could be hijacked with me in it. Can't wait in the car again.

The loss of my son to gun violence and the steady rise of more crimes involving guns has made me ponder my own safety and mortality and that of my husband's. I am sure many of you may be having the same thoughts and fears. I know people in the city I mentioned say they are afraid to leave their homes for fear of being shot. I also must mention the spiraling number of drug overdoses and the hundreds of thousands of parents dealing with this grief.

Is America not better than this? Can law and order not be returned to our streets to preserve lives and prevent endless grief? Can we not provide more readily available mental health services? Addiction services? I believe illegal drugs are at the heart of many of theses crimes. Can we not better identify people who pose risks and take appropriate interventions to prevent tragedies? Can we not be realistic that there are evil people who will do harm and therefore should be separated in jail from the rest of society? Can we not elect responsible district attorneys who will enforce the the law and punish criminals appropriately?

Whatever your beliefs may be on these subjects, if you are in a good enough place, I urge you to call or write to your state and federal legislators to express your opinions. To tell your stories of personal tragedy. Bring it home to them. The phone number for the US Capitol building in DC is 202-225-3121. Just task the operator to connect you to your Representative on Senator. Give their names. Sometimes a staffer will answer the phone or you may get a recording to leave a message. Or call their local offices. Usually you can speak directly to a staffer there. If you look on the internet, you will find their websites and email addresses. You can send an email if you don't want to write a letter or call.

I have a plan to address school shootings with better school security to prevent a shooter from gaining entry to a school. And recommendations for the legal steps to be enforced for school/mass shooters. If you care to read it, it is on my other blog at www.ordinaryamericanview.wordpress.com. The title is "School Shootings Can Be Prevented." I hope you find it helpful and reassuring. 

I fear the US (and maybe other countries) has become a godless nation. We do not live by the Ten Commandments. Public prayer is banned. There is no concept of right and wrong. People do not love or fear God or a Higher Power. Children are raised without a clear concept of what is right and wrong, to show respect for themselves and others, to accept personal responsibility and to attend religious services. Promiscuity abounds on TV. Video games, movies and song lyrics normalize violence and blur the line between fantasy and reality. Atheism is increasing. Relativism is the norm. Depression is increasing in young people. I believe because teens and young adults have no faith. No assurance that God or a Higher Power is there fo them to turn to in times of trouble. Schools are indoctrinating and confusing kids with very twisted ideas about life, about "victimhood" and about sexuality and gender over parents objections.

Because of all this, many of our children have suffered at the hands of evil, godless, disturbed, dangerous people. We have been left with picking up the pieces of our own lives. Remembering and cherishing our deceased children while trying to carry on. It is hard, very hard to hold it together when our hearts are breaking. When confusion, danger and injustice surrounds us. We still have responsibilities to our living children, our spouses, our homes and our jobs. 

Depending on the place we are in. we can do one, several or all the steps I have outlined here. We need to pray. To invite God into our lives. To tell Him of our pain and anguish. To ask him for strength and courage. To meditate.  To go to religious services. To keep a journal. To attend a grief support group. To force ourselves out of our homes when we would rather isolate. To set limits and realistic goals for ourselves. To seek counsel. To talk to our spouses. To memorialize our children with something simple or more elaborate in someplace where they lived, not at their death site. To help prevent similar tragedies. 

This is what we can do to move forward bit by bit. To gain a life. Not the same life, but not a life of constant tears and isolation. A life can happen if we give it time and patience. We will have bad days, but they become less intense and less frequent. There is hope and light. We must be willing to reach for it.

             "Be strengthened in your in being with power through the Spirit.  Ephesians 3: 16