Tuesday, July 01, 2008

When to intervene

We've all been there. A moment in time when something really ugly happens and you wonder "should I say something, should I do something."

I see it on the subway. Most recently a toddler was trailing behind his mom on the exit steps. She turned and bellowed "hurry the fuck up." She loomed over me, standing behind the little boy. Can you imagine what it was like for him; he's barely two feet tall. I wanted to say something but honestly it's like hitting a dog who's barking from fear. It doesn't help the barking, it doesn't teach the dog anything, and fundamentally it doesn't solve the problem. And frankly she scared me. And I'm more than five feet tall, and she doesn't control my food, shelter or security. I wanted to scoop up that kid and run off with him. Of course I didn't. I said nothing. I went home. And wept.

But you'd think that when someone falls to the floor in a hospital waiting room, even those of us who have passed by before would say something, anything. This breaks my heart as I'm sure it does yours.

Two years ago a friend from my childhood lost her life in the throes of mental illness. She wasn't admitted to Harborview because of a shortage of beds. I think of her often these days; it was she who introduced me to horse books, and started me on a lifelong love with all things horse. That's uppermost in my mind these days because of a book I just sold in which agent, editor and author are all horse-mad.

This makes me crazy with frustration. What does this say about us that we cannot protect the most vulnerable even when they are literally at the door of a hospital.

I don't even know what to do, how to vent my rage and frustration. I think if someone held a protest march about this, I'd go. And I'd scream. And yell. But mostly I would remember the powerful compelling words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: what you do to the least of these my brethren, you do to me.

You don't have to be a follower of Christ or believe in any god, to know implicitly in your very marrow that what we do to the least of these OUR brethren, is what we truly are. And what I am is ashamed.

38 comments:

Julie Weathers said...

"what you do to the least of these my brethren, you do to me."

This is your answer.

Janet, what do you do? You make a stand when you can.

It doesn't have to be a massive protest or something earth shattering. Speak to the elderly lady in line and tell her what a beautiful color that is on her. You probably just made her day, week or month.

Support something that is dear to your heart. Children, animals, elderly, prisoners, mentally impaired. Since your friend had such an impact on your life, perhaps that would be your gift back to her.

As for the amazon with the child, I probably would have said something, but I have no common sense. I'm the idiot who knocked the gang punk on his a$$ in the store and then prayed for him.

My heart goes out to you that you are this affected by these things.

And now I am probably coming off like some kind of nut, but I am so sorry to hear of this tragedy.

Thoughts are with you.

H. L. Dyer said...

There are an awful lot of people in this world with mixed-up priorities.

In health care, like pretty much everywhere else, the mentally ill, the poor, and the children get the short end of the stick because those groups don't have the money or the power to demand better.

So the people who need the most are often the most neglected. It is frustrating beyond belief. I've been at it from both sides (as medical professional and as family member). Something really needs to change.

Mostly people need to stop being so self-absorbed and just try to take care of each other.

Mystery Robin said...

I think these things are so appaling because we do feel them in our bones, because Christ's words are true, because we do instinctively know that God is in the small, the weak, the abused, those left to die in waiting rooms and each time we turn our head we build callusses and we've seen where that can lead. And that scares the sh*t out of us, as well it should.

As an aside, as a mother, I know it's a contraversial call but I think it's a good thing to intervene when a kid is being spoken too abusively, not because I think the abuse will stop, but because I hope the kid will remember that someone said something and know as he gets older that his mother was wrong and some random lady at the park or the mall noticed - just a small stake in the ground to hopefully help a kid grab hold of some sanity as he grows up in that mess.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Human beings, unfortunately, have appallingly little compassion towards each other. We just have to do the best where we can, but it's so frustrating when we hold out of fear or propriety and we know it. *sigh*

JKB said...

This just broke my heart.

Julie Weathers said...

Intervening with the woman and child is a tricky thing. If you confront her, she could take it out on the child later. In her case, I probably would have said something along the lines of, "What a beautiful child you have. You must be having a bad day, can I help with something?"

She most likely would have told me to eff off and mind my own business, but the child might register some kindness and the woman possibly would calm down a bit.

Mostly, there isn't much you can do unless you know where they live or who they are. However, I am willing to venture a guess, just by mentioning it here, there are prayers going up for the child now. Plus, others are more aware of similar situations, both with the child and the poor woman in the hospital.

Jay said...

The video of the woman in the hospital killed me. Not only the indifference of the staff and guards and other patients, but to falsify the records of what happened. Totally horrific and unexcusable.

And when it comes to children, I want to jump in and protect all of them. I think of my kids and can't imagine anyone treating them that way, let alone the ones who are supposed to love them the most.

ChrisEldin said...

What Julie said about the child--if you say something in anger toward/about her, she'll take it out on the child later.
But it's really really really hard to watch. I've witnessed similar things and they've made me cry as well.

When Terry Shciavo was still alive, a Jewish friend and I were talking/debating about what is the moral thing to do. She quoted those words from Matthew. We do have a responsiblity while here on Earth to our fellow human beings.

Southern Writer said...

I'm not at all surprised. Last year my husband drove me to the hospital while I was having a heart attack. When we arrived at the ER, he ran in and asked them to come out and help me get inside. They told him, "If you can't get her out of the truck, how do you expect us to?" I am not a very big person. It's not like anyone was asking them to lift a baby elephant or anything. I'm sorry that the poor woman in the video lost her life because of a lack of caring. I remember reading about it when it happened.

Now about that child. I was in a store a few months ago, waiting at the deli, along with several other people. There was a little girl about 6 or 7 years old sitting in a shopping cart while her mother waited. She wasn't crying, whining, or begging for anything. She didn't make a peep. All of a sudden, her mom started berating her for no apparent reason at all. It was as if the woman was doing it to show off! I mean it was a real Jerry Springer moment. I could see the humiliation and fear in the little girl's eyes, and she began to cry. At that point, her mother picked up a can of Pam from her cart and began to hit the girl with it. I was an abused child, so that was it for me. I told the woman if she hit that child with that can again, I was going to call the police. She did, and I did. When the police came, we went into the security room and watched on tape as the mother repeatedly whacked the child with the can. The little girl was crying her eyes out, no clue at all what she'd done wrong. The officer told me he was going to take the mother to jail, release the girl to her father's custody, and make a report to social services. He asked me to follow up and make another report the next day, but when I tried, they wanted the girls' name, address, phone number, etc. I didn't have that information. I did have a friend who has worked at social services for over thirty years, and she told me no report was ever made.

And one more thing. Here's the saddest, most pathetic and heartbreaking thing I've ever seen in my entire life. Sometimes I can't believe our inhumanity to each other:

http://www.freewebs.com/lesia/heartbreaking.htm

Just_Me said...

(Hugs Janet)

Every body has a choice. Every one i sheld accountable for what they choose. You didn't choose to hurt the poor woman in the hospital. You were not the one sitting idly by doing nothing. It was wrong of them, but if you ever saw something like that you, and all your readers know, that you would do something.

As for the child.... those situations are always horrible. Abusive parents don't start or stop the abuse at random. There is a trigger and there is a cause and in many cases there are years of indoctrination. When a child grows up in a abusive home they pass that tradition on. None of us can guess what would have made that mother not yell at her child. Even if you had said something she may not have thought she was saying anything wrong. Not everyone is raised with the same values.

For everything else, take a page from Julie's playbook and do what you can for those in your sphere of influence. Say something kind to the people you meet. Compliment the elderly. Thank a vetran. Vote your values. The small and simple things matter.

Jessica said...

This is so sad I don't even know what to write. I hate that video. I hate that there are people sitting in those chairs that never said anything. Guards who ignore her. It's so wrong and evil.
Jesus was right. It's the way we treat others that shows who we are. What we believe. What we value.
And about the little girl on the subway. That makes me feel violent.
I have three kids under four and I know how stressful things can get. But to talk to that child like that? I don't know. It messes kids up.
Man, I totally understand why you went home and cried. Just reading this makes me want to.

Kelley said...

and yet.

even though these acts of inhumanity and cruelty happen, there is still grace and beauty in us and all around us--so much I have to believe it outpowers such sad things as you're discussing. I don't believe we have such apallingly little compassion for one another. and I don't have to look far to see it, either. sometimes you have to just look and remember and see.

It's why these things stick out--and are so shocking. They are big and bad. And everyday kind is small and ignored. I choose to believe these bad acts aren't the norm. We'd notice the child being yelled at. Perhaps someone else helped someone out of the train, paid a fare, said good day. We'd never notice that, though. And we don't leave links for it.

I also choose to believe there is good in everything--and that bad things, even our inhumanity to others, can bring ultimate good. How one bad act can spur people to vow to commit good acts in their own life. That these things we witness, we don't witness in vain.

I once pulled into the post office, and there was an unlocked minivan with a preschooler inside it. unattended. in the late spring heat. I rolled down its windows, stayed next to the van, waited for his parent, to ensure he was safe. ten, then fifteen mins passed. finally, I grabbed a passing woman, told her to watch the child and went in to tell the postmaster to call the cops. the mother, in line, overheard me and came racing out, screaming at me to mind my own business. I sighed. Got in the car and drove off. I ended up having to drive to the police station, because the mother followed me, riding my bumping, screaming out the window at me.

I understand Miss Reid's hesitation to speak up.

I worry that woman took it out on her child. I'm not sure to this day I should have done it the way I did.

That woman I pulled aside though? She found me, called me, crying. She admitted she'd left her kids-all 3-- in the car like that before. It took what happened to make her realize. They ended up making it a crime in our state that year.

Perhaps I am Pollyanna-ish. But I can live with that. The medical industry, however, now that's a different story. Not a day goes by that I am not battling the stupidity of it.

I am sorry to hear of your friend's death, Miss Reid.

Kelley said...

*prying foot out of mouth*

before Mags stumbles in and beats me senseless--as much as I have struggled with the stupidity of the medical industry, and I have, it would take me three times as long to recount all the individuals caught inside it, doing everything they can, giving personally and professionally210000333222000 x23 % to help their patients.

the industry though. *shaking head sadly*

Susan Adrian said...

That's awful. I find it so hard to believe that no one would take action--but there it is, on tape.

Ryan Field said...

When I saw a clip of the security guard rolling backward in his chair, poking his head around the corner to look at the woman on the floor, and then just roll back to his desk without even getting up, I was sick. The whole thing makes me sick.

As for the kid on the subway...I've opened my big mouth more than once in situations like that and it's always really ugly and it never accomplishes anything.

freddie said...

I think it takes an awful lot of guts to speak up publicly when you see something like this. It doesn't take much these days for a situation to turn violent. I applaud anyone who has or who would. But I can certainly understand the notion to keep quiet—and not just because it's easier, but because sometimes it does more harm than good.

I like Julie's suggestion of what to say. It's complimentary, non-confrontational, but still gets the point across.

freddie said...

But for what happened in that hospital, well . . . there's just no excuse.

Cameron said...

I recently lost my former brother-in-law who had terrific mental health problems. That could have just as easily been him on that hospital floor--or, for that matter, any of us.

This is why I write/read crime fiction; in MY stories, the people who let this poor woman die like that would meet a similiar, if not more, horrific fate.

Sad but true.

Mags said...

Janet, you did the correct thing with the child. Unless you witness physical abuse, the intervention of a well-meaning stranger has the potential to escalate a situation. There's no way to know mom's story or what capacity she has to handle that sort of stressor. By doing nothing (but going home and crying), you followed the safest course for mom, for yourself and the other occupants of the train, and most heartbreakingly, for the child. How's that for a whole lot of crap?

The good news is that if mom is not too far gone, the experience of finding strangers unable to meet her eye when she's gone off her gourd can sometimes stay with a person, and can be received in a way verbal correction or reprimand cannot.

You don't actually know what your effect was on that situation.

I'm sorry about your friend. I work in healthcare, and I tried very hard with my team to have a 15-year-old child with clear suicidal ideation admitted for inpatient care not two weeks ago. We failed. The insurance denied it after a crisis worker mishandled her end of the situation and there was no correcting it.

Even when people care, our current healthcare system is designed to look away from people with illnesses in their brains. People with ill spleens and hearts and gall bladders are much less disruptive.

Julia Weston said...

But you did do something. You wept, which tells me things about you I would otherwise never have known. You took your frustration and pain to your blog, where you no doubt moved many articulate, intelligent, compassionate people who inspire, create and wage wars with words. I can tell you that if today I happen upon someone like Ms. Hurry-the-fuck-up, I'll have a whole slew of words for her (words I would likely have kept to myself prior to reading your post).

Thank you for sharing.

Lorra said...

It shatters me to read this. Many years ago, I came across a small child, no more than three, sitting in a grocery cart as her mother railed at her about how ugly she was. I didn't see the woman hit the child, but there was a red welt on the child's cheek that looked suspiciously like a handprint.

In a pathetic, pleading voice the child said, "The babysitter says I'm pretty."

To which the mother screamed into her face, "The babysitter was wrong. You're ugly."

Like Janet, I was frozen in indecision. I was afraid if I intervened I would make it worse for that poor, defenseless toddler as soon as that animal she called her mother got her alone.

The little girl is probably an older teenager by now, probably a mother herself for where else was she going to find unconditional love? I can only pray that I'm wrong, that someone who loved her forced her mother to get help and stepped in to repair the child's shredded self esteem and that she is now happy, living a good life, devoting herself to small acts of kindness. If she is, it's no thanks to me.

It's not in my character to do nothing. I still agonize over whether I should have stepped in. Did I do the right thing?

Kelley said...

Mags says--Even when people care, our current healthcare system is designed to look away from people with illnesses in their brains. People with ill spleens and hearts and gall bladders are much less disruptive.

Yes. And look away from those without ins and/or the means to pay regardless of dx.

Granted, my son was not ultimately turned away. He is alive. But he lost most of his frontal lobe, suffered brain damage he never needed to, because someone was worried about money and their own butt.

I understand wanting to march through the streets and protest against it all.

And yet. We found our way to a few someones and a few places where they did care. Because of that he IS alive, and we saw changes forced on those who'd dropped the ball. I know there's frustration for the professionals like Miss Mags, trying to help change and buck the system, but they do make a positive difference, even in the failures. Trust me, they do.

Mags said...

I forgot to stumble in and beat you senseless, Kelley, 'cos I was rambling! My bad.

Actually, I wasn't able to find fault with anything you said. And I would never presume to trust my own experiences with the system over the parent of a sick child's.

I'd beat you senseless just for fun, though, but it'd be with pixie stix and feather boas...

cbl said...

Well said, pal.

- Colleen

Creative Clusterer said...

maggie
I was raised on the motto , "Better to light one candle than curse the darkness." And one I can't remember exactly, but it was about walking in another man's shoes.

In offering kindness to the mother, even if she were to reject you, would send a message to the child and the mother. It's possible the Mother is a b****, but maybe she was an abused child or is an abused wife or has mental health issues and is never offered a kind word.
"Can I help?" could be a godsend and the seed of change.

You, however, my dear girl, did more than go home and weep. You told us ... and gave us much to think about.

By the way, I venture to guess there is more than one person who reads this blog, who at one time or another was at the end of her/his rope and acted in a way that was shameful. Who knows what that mother's back story was?

pseudosu said...

What's that quote?
"Atrocities happen when good men (people) do nothing."

Just don't "do nothing" whenever possible.

The kid thing, who knows, by stepping in you could have made it worse. Sometimes not making it worse is the way to go.

The hospital thing, and the way we deal with the mentally ill in general, was barbaric.

Southern Writer said...

I applaud Julie's patience and intelligent solution. I'm betting she was never abused (I hope so). When you grow up as an abused child, patience does not become one of your virtues. That's exactly why I never had children. I read enough to know that abuse is passed from generation to generation. This time, it stopped with me. I can't tolerate it. Every time I see a child being abused, I want to remove them from the situation immediately. I'm not saying children shouldn't be spanked. I don't like it, but I understand it.

I see many of you believe that to intervene will make it harder for the child. That's not necessarily true. One more instance of abuse in a lifetime of abuse is just that. One more. It hardly registers. Unless it kills you, as the years pass, it just blends in with all the other hundreds of times. I would have loved it if someone had confronted my folks with a firm WTF? Believe me, when you see that expression of fear in a child's eyes, it's a plea for help. They're vulnerable to someone much bigger and stronger than themselves, and they want someone, anyone to make it stop.

Intervention sends a message to both the parent and the child that abuse is not appropriate behavior. It may be too late for the parent, but the kid will catch on. I was fifteen before I found out that not everyone lived that way, and that's when I started defending myself. I didn't have to murder my parents to end it, but you can read about how often that happens. Abuse doesn't only hurt the child physically; the psychological damage lasts a lifetime and can never be erased. Then there are the social implications. Those of you who know me know I'm a scrapper. I've got a short fuse. I don't often keep my mouth shut and take it when someone ticks me off. I am a prime example of what abused children become. Do you think I wouldn't like to be a lovely, courteous, well adjusted adult like Julie and Janet? I try, but I lapse. Behavior is learned over a lifetime, and undoing it isn't accomplished overnight. Please love your babies. Love all babies. One person CAN make a difference. One person intervening can give a child hope, and make them feel someone cares.

ver: v vent

Vent over.

monica said...

God bless us every one.(We need it.)
Monica

Mags said...

Southern Writer, I'm so sorry.

You are clearly intelligent and articulate, and someone who has given this topic an enormous amount of thought. God knows, I don't see how you wouldn't have, but you've made incredibly responsible and humane choices for your life. I'm feeling quite awed by you.

I won't speak to anyone's rationale but my own, but I still maintain that not intervening on a train, in an unknown situation with unknown and unknowable people involved was precisely the correct action to take.

The kid may catch on, but the kid is not the wild card to the people aching to help.

The sort of situation Janet found herself in is the sort where I start praying to the mandated reporters of the world when I experience it- the school teachers, healthcare professionals (me, when my concerns are raised in my professional setting- they have been and it's been a relief not to have the option to wonder what the right choice to make is), social workers, etc.

My last profession involved a lot of crisis work. I've heard "it stops with me" from a lot of victims, but have met few who've done whatever they needed to do to ensure that would be the case.

You've done more to stop this evil than I ever did, in the cumulation of many years spent working in human services and healthcare.

Southern Writer said...

*blush* Thanks, Mags, but I'm really not looking for sympathy. Another symptom of abuse is that a person gets way too tough to need sympathy. :-) I guess I hoped to enlighten the people who said not to get involved. I hoped they would see the damage it does from the abused's point of view. I also don't want to highjack Janet's blog because I'm fairly sure a debate on this subject wasn't her intention. And I have to leave the house now anyway. But thank you. You're a kind person.

Julie Weathers said...

"I applaud Julie's patience and intelligent solution. I'm betting she was never abused (I hope so). When you grow up as an abused child, patience does not become one of your virtues."

Interesting thought.

Actually, my first step father was a psychotic pedophile who used to laugh about the way the child prostitutes in Korea would cry.

My mother had to work on my twelfth birthday and she told him to stay home with us kids instead of going out drinking again. It made him so mad he was in a seething rage. I finally dragged my little brother and our dog under the trailer house and I hid them out between the axles because I was afraid he was going to kill us. I was familiar with his beatings and he was completely out of control that day.

I tried to get my brother to go with me, but he was afraid to leaves, so I left with the dog to walk to our father's, fifteen miles away and get help. An off-duty cop picked me up and took me to my dad's town, but when he talked to my mother she said I was just upset because she was to busy to give me a birthday party. They wouldn't listen to me or call my father. They just took the spoiled kid home to face the music.

Not long after that, he came in drunk one night. Mother told me to run with her. We always ran out the back door and hid until he passed out so we could sneak back in the house. Montana winters in your nightgowns are a little rough.

That particular night, I decided I wasn't going to run. I offered to fix him something to eat. He didn't like what I was going to fix, so he started to raise his fist to hit me. Bear in mind this was a big man, who so terrorized the police they always brought the coroner when they had to arrest him. They had orders to shoot him if he offered any resistance. I screamed at him to go ahead and beat me to death because at least then they would put him in prison and he wouldn't hurt anyone again.

After that, he stopped hitting me and started trying to crawl in my bed every time he got a chance. I learned to sleep facing the door so I could run as soon as he got close. Sleeping with my back to the door wasted precious seconds I needed to escape. I wasn't sure what he wanted, but I was afraid of being caught. I had been married for several years before I could relax enough to sleep with my back to a door.

Years later, my first child, a little girl died the day after she was born. I was told I really shouldn't try to have children again. I wanted lots of children, so this broke my heart. So much so, I would go to pieces every time I heard a news story about an abused child. I wanted children so desperately and these idiots were hurting theirs. I finally had to stop taking the paper and watching the news because it was driving me insane.

I've more than once gotten involved when I saw a child being hurt. Once I told a man I would knock him straight through those doors if he touched that little girl again.

However, you have to pick your battles. Sometimes, you have to think of what is best for the child. In the case on the bus, I'm fairly certain she would have only taken it out on the child later. It seems it would be better to try and deter her anger, rather than focus it on the child.

So, in answer to your observation, yes, I think I'm familiar with abuse.

However, you can wallow in the past or learn from it, but you can't change it. Somehow, you just have to get past it.

Miss Viola Bookworm said...

Wow. I'm so sad and stunned by the post and comments. It's hard sometimes, when we're running around living our happy, busy lives, when the harsh reality of the world hits us. I try to be positive and appreciative of my life and the wonderful blessings I have, but like you, Janet, certain things stun me and hit me hard, leaving me feeling like I can do nothing but weep and wonder how in the world people can operate and live like they do, whether it be the people who ignored the woman in the hospital or the woman who yelled and cursed at her child in the subway.

I don't know how long you read the comments, Janet, and I don't know if anyone else is reading them today (July 3), but I wanted to share something with the rest of the readers. Almost five years ago, my cousin was killed in a random act of violence. Corey was a wonderful, caring young man with much love in his heart and a sense of humor that made everyone laugh and smile. The case is unsolved, and to this day, my family struggles. His 35th birthday would have been this Saturday, July 5, and it saddens me terribly. Since he died almost five years ago, I've noticed random acts of violence everywhere. It saddens me that I knew these things occurred before, but I was still in that, "this stuff doesn't happen to our family" mode. Obviously, I've learned now that it does, and every time I hear about a case similar to my cousin Corey's, my heart goes out to the family. One such case is that of Eve Carson, the former student body president of the University of North Carolina, who was murdered outside of her home this March. I thought of her as I was reading the blog post and comments because Eve had a campaign, something she started just before her tragic death, called "why do you do what you do?" If you look at the website for her campaign, there is a tribute to Eve showing her photo with her proclaiming the answer to the question "why do you do what you do?" but also has other photos from people around the world answering the same question.

I'm writing this here, Janet, because in times of sadness or tragic circumstances such as the incident at the hospital or the witness of ill treatment to someone like a child, or anyone for that matter, this is my focus: what do I do? What can I do? Stay true to myself and my beliefs in God, family, peace, and love, and when possible, yes, try to have the guts to stand up to those that are wrong or cruel. It's tough, and I don't always express my beliefs or stand in for those who could benefit from my help, but I try, and I guess that is the best we can do. In the meantime, it helps me to have a focus, something similar to Ms. Carson's slogan, something I can remember, even when it is difficult or seems daunting.

I'll sign off, but I want to thank you for this post. I read it for the information and lessons you offer and also because I love your straightforward nature. You make me laugh, and today, I saw a different side of you that I so appreciated. Hugs to you...

And I encourage eveyrone to check out Eve's site. It's a tribute to a fine young woman who's life was tragically cut short.

Southern Writer said...

Damn, Julie. I'm sorry.

And Miss Viola, I'm sorry for your loss.

Amie Stuart said...

Wow....I don't think there's anything else I can add here except hugs to Janet and everyone. And thank you for sharing.

Julie Weathers said...

And I apologize for spilling my guts and the copious typos. Normally, I try to be a bit more intelligent.

My last word on the subject will be I think it speaks volumes that Janet was emotionally involved in these things. It shows a great deal about her as a person. I'm also heartened to see she touched so many other people. I'm going to venture a guess, she has changed someone's life for the better by making people more aware of these situations.

Life has a way of using you to improve things for others when you care enough to speak up.

michaeltyler said...

I read every bit of this, found each comment filled with strength, powerful emotion, courage, wisdom, or feelings I'm not sure I'm even capable of understanding, but which I recognize as being more than I want rattling around in my heart.

I am prone to taking a stand, win, lose, or draw, but such decisions can cost you dearly, as they have cost me. I think, perhaps, smarter people know when to pick their battles, so in this, the subway, I think Janet should not be hard on herself. The fact that she cared so much speaks very well of her, I'd say.

It is hard for me, and most of us, I hope, to imagine having a mother treat us or our children like the subway mother did, but sadly, it is not uncommon. The world is full of scumbags, low-lifes, pukes, cruelty, horror, and other miscellaneous ugliness--that is easy to know. What I think is harder to remember is how many wonderful, caring, fantastic folks there are, too. These people, and the good they do, the warmth they generate, the love they spread, they are the ones who make life worth living.

True, there are tragic cases of heartless indifference that grab our attention and inspire despair and anger, but there are so many instances of great courage and compassion that never reach us, because like that old song said, we love our dirty laundry.

I have rambled, I know, and I'm not very good at this, but lastly, and I know the inadequacy of any words from me on this, I applaud the courage and heart of you ladies who shared your pain. Survival alone is often a victory, though maybe a painful, bitter victory, and you are survivors.

Jennifer L. Griffith said...

This is a sad state of affairs for America. Without going into specific details as I'm still battling for my health, a medical event has happened that has at the very least taken my ability to live life fully for nearly a year...

This event threw me right into the middle of the "profit over patient" mentality that sooo gets in the way of patient care...not to mention enough pride to make the whole country fall.

I am a consummate student of science, having reached the level of post-graduate studies in a healthcare field...I say this NOT to brag but to point out that I'm far from the "least of these" when it comes to research and knowledge to discuss things with the doctors who are suppose to HELP me, and are being paid by the insurance company to do so. EVEN with my background, and in-depth research into what the doctor injected into my hypersensitive body, I came close to "the end of it all" out of negligence and pride.

If it wasn't for an alternative doctor who is not tied to the profit of the pharmaceutical that was injected into me, I firmly believe I would not be here as of a month ago.

But God is healing me and making me stronger inside. He has given me a voice, and somehow I plan to use it for the "least of these". In time, in healing I will know how. Through my journey, I've thought of the "least of these" everyday. Those who sit before their doctors, and trust that they will hear them and help them. I've heard from some of them who say,

"They write me off as a nutcase. You're fighting for me, too. Be strong."

I'm not sure how it will play out as the bigger guns have bigger funds and manpower, but I do know that God is with me and he's the biggest of them ALL. He stands for truth and justice in His perfect time. Until then, I pray daily for direction and action...not just for myself, but mostly for the "least of these."

My heart aches for that little one. My heart aches for the patient who is ignored. It is infuriating, indeed.

cruizen4u said...

I read this and cried. No words that I could clearly have an answer to this dilemma.

Now that I have taken a moment, I surely know that when we don't make a move to correct what we feel is wrong we feel like failures.

The answer to this problem is surely prayer. It may seem like a small answer to what you felt.

Remember, you don't know if this woman would have turned on you. Or maybe if you had intervened she would have taken it out on the child. There are a lot of "what if's." You could have followed her while dialing 911, but this would only have aggravated her more.

Praying for her as well as the child would have been the best and safest thing. Though next time you will probably be more apt to act.
My prayers are with you always...