Saturday, December 21, 2013

Season of Getting, Part 3: The Hospital With No Respect For The Living, The Dying, Or the Just Plain Dead

North Carolina mom files lawsuit after son is sent home from hospital dead in a taxi

Although the incident happened over two years ago, the lawsuit emerging from it is very pertinent with today's squabbles about healthcare.

A North Carolina woman is suing a hospital security contractor over a 2011 incident in which her late son was carried off hospital premises and sent home in a taxi after his death.

It's rather ironic that this tragedy should come to light at the same time as the Obamacare/Francis season is in full swing, for to millions of people, that's what the season has been portrayed as: the season of healthcare and humility, and one which the Right has been screeching about. To "social conservatives" everywhere, this is the worst Christmas ever: Obamacare continues to roll out despite a near disastrous start, gays are getting married at a record rate as states fall one-by-one to gay rights and same-sex marriage, and the new pope is championing compassion and humility in the face of capitalism.

The Tragedy of  A'Darrin Washington

A'Darrin Washington suffered from recurrent pneumonia associated with Hodgkin's lymphoma. He had been a patient at the Cumberland County for ten years. He was admitted into the hospital on Nov. 22, 2011 where he was (mis)diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia. He was given the wrong medication for more than several days, during which time he became unresponsive and was in pain. After tests revealed that he was suffering from fungal pneumonia, he was given the proper medication. Even though he was still unresponsive, he was judged fit to be discharged. 

The complaint states: "Mr. Washington was unresponsive due to the fact that he was dying."

A nurse called security to remove A'Darrin because he was "uncooperative" and "refusing to walk and move." Even though several staff voiced their concerns, security removed him from his bed, placed him in a wheelchair, then placed him in a taxi.

The taxi cab driver was concerned that A'Darrin was already dead. The drive took 45 minutes. A'Darrin's body was cold by the time he was received by his mother and other relatives.

The Cumberland County Hospital and its security looked like cruel, annoyed ____ (use your own plural noun). A long time terminal cancer patient was treated so badly that it's a wonder the hospital has not been  investigated and closed down. It is not clear as to why the hospital has not been sued directly.

"Healthcare in America is the BEST IN THE WORLD"

Last November, Speaker John Boehner accused Obamacare of destroying the "Best healthcare system in the world." Such hubris would not go unnoticed by advocates of social justice such as Pope Francis who called Christians who refuse to humble themselves to help others "ugly" and "pagan." So, yes, there is a point in bringing up A'Darrin's tragedy:

And it is this: uncaring healthcare is a product of the "unfettered capitalism" both Francis and Obama have fought for years. The Cumberland County Hospital needed the space for "healthier" (read: longer living) patients and became annoyed with a continuous patient and his needs. The staff and security could no longer humble themselves to take care of A'Darrin.

No, Mr. Boehner, our healthcare is not the best (nor the most compassionate) in the world.

Just ask A'Darrin Washington. 

Oh, sorry, you can't.

He's dead.

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