Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Great Injustice



When I first found out about the Seven Hills Pediatric Center I brought my children for a tour of the facility. The Center takes care of children and adults with very complex medical needs. So many of the individuals there reminded me of Terri Schiavo.



However with one great difference. The lives of these individuals were being preserved and I would even venture to say; treasured. In all its years of operation there has never been a bedsore. Each resident receives a whirl pool bath every day. There are activities provided, education, and very specialized care for each person residing there.

At a recent Family Day, which I posted about here, I became aware of a great injustice that is about to be visited upon some of the residents of Seven Hills.

In 1998, a "public interest group" (liberals who have lawyers) filed suit against the state of Massachusetts "on behalf of" mentally retarded adults who are residing in "nursing homes". A settlement was reached and the state of MA has agreed to transfer 640 adults from "nursing homes" to group homes. Somehow, 30 Seven Hills residents have been included in the list of individuals to be transferred.

Against the will of those who care for them.

Against the will of their parents or guardians.

A transfer to a group home would be a death sentence for these individuals. And what worries me is maybe that is the point.

After we witness the shameful starvation death of Terri Schiavo it could only be a matter of time before the lives of every individual who has difficulty communicating, will be considered marginal and expendable.

Are we seeing it?

This soon?

This website tells the stories of the individuals who will be affected by this settlement. The story of the helplessness that the parents of these individuals feel. The story of the powerlessness of the victims.

And I would ask you to look at this story and not cluck your tongue and pity those poor people for a nano second before you pick up your latest edition of People magazine and switch the TV channel. Instead think about what this means for YOUR children and YOUR loved ones who are at the mercy of the state.

The families of those "represented" in this class action lawsuit were SUPPOSED TO BE NOTIFIED, but somehow they weren't....

10 comments:

Brett said...

Unlike Terri, these individuals did not have the opportunity to express their wishes about life and death. It is too bad, because one wonders what they would have chosen if they had the choice.

Tara Maureen said...

I sometimes wonder how people view group homes for the disabled. I've worked in many and I can tell you they get a bad rep. Many of the people who work in group homes are capable, caring, and compassionate. Your narrow views of group homes are revolting. Stereotypes such as yours make my job a million times harder but a million times more worth it.

M. Alexander said...

Dear Tara Maureen,

If you had taken a few seconds to read the articles from the website you would know that these individuals need specialized care. They need round the clock nursing care. Many require tube feeding and are on a variety of medications. They routinely experience seizures and most are almost completely unable to communicate.

They will die in a group home. And that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a group home is a good place or not. I'm sure there are many wonderful group homes where individuals live rich and fulfilling lives. However, the patients at Seven Hills will not survive such a transfer.

Please try not react so defensively and think for a minute about what is really going on. This article has absolutely nothing to do with you or whatever glorious group home that you work in.

With your specialized information perhaps you can share with us ignorant mortals how many people in group homes are tube fed, completely unable to defend themselves against other residents, unable to communicate and seizing constantly? How many nurses, doctors, orthotists, speech pathologists, physical therapists and occupational therapists are on staff at your average group home?

Mary

M. Alexander said...

Brett, you really are one sad and sorry individual.

brett said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tara Maureen said...

I read your entire blog. I can tell you right now that many of the group homes I've worked in have people in such conditions. Most careproviders are trained for patients such as those you've described, most have nurses on hand (so many per patient required by FEDERAL LAW) and have doctors on call 24/7. The people I've worked with have had the proper threapists available to them as well. I've read a few of your blogs and it seems that you are a very judgemental, narrow minded, unresearched person. For that, I pity you.

mom v many said...

I am stunned but not surprised. I'm sure this will be repeated in other places. I will pray for them and you as you follow this and hope for a reversal.

Madeline said...

Brett;

Do you look at a dumpster full of aborted babies and wonder, "what they would have chosen if they had the choice...". No, of course not... the answer for you and your ilk is always, death.

Or, perhaps you subscribe to the idea that,

"If the state really wants to carry out the extermination of these or at least of some mental patients, shouldn't a law be promulgated, which can be justified before the people - a law that would give everyone the assurance of careful examination as to whether he is due to die or entitled to live and which would also give the relatives a chance to be heard, in a similar way, as provided by the law for the prevention of Hereditarily affected Progeny?"

You're living 69 years too late, and in the wrong country, Herr Brett.

You are a beautiful example of someone who is doomed to repeat history... that is ignorant !

Marisela said...

UNBELIEVABLE!!

When the most vulnerable among us are considered so disposable, the rest of us CANNOT in good conscience say nothing/do nothing!

For live is precious and sacred no matter the condition of your communication skills!

Who next will be considered "worthless"?

BEWARE for you may be next!

Carlsvilleproject Blog said...

Mary, It was refreshing to read your blog. I am just developing my own.As I have over 20 years professional experience in the Mental Health to reflect upon it has become abundantly clear of the importance of the connection of the mind , body and spirit to promote health on several levels.
Thanks again..