What's the scariest thing you can imagine as a parent. How about sitting, day after day, in a hospital at your baby's bedside? April Saul and Danny Rivera have watched their 3-month-old daughter lie in a NICU, hooked up to monitors, ever since she was born. Now they're facing criminal charges for unhooking their daughter, loading her in their car, and taking off for another hospital where they say there is a specialist who could help her.
Saul and Rivera are facing charges of endangering the welfare of children and disorderly conduct for their grab and run with their own daughter, and little Aralynn is back in the NICU at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It's one of those bizarre cases where right and wrong have come together and become so tangled, it's hard to tell which way is up.
Were they wrong to move their little girl? Probably. The folks at Lehigh Valley say they've been in contact with the specialists at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and they would like to transfer Aralynn there for treatment for her heart defect, but she is not yet medically capable of making the trip. They didn't want the girl's parents to take her out of the hospital because they say it's too dangerous.
I was raised by a nurse practitioner, so I tend to listen to medical professionals.
On the other hand, how long do you feel helpless as a parent before you act? We live in a country where we are lucky to have a pretty decent medical system, but unless you are part of the medical establishment, it's a maze for the layperson to navigate. Patient advocates exist, but they're not always the most helpful people on Earth.
What really drives that home is Saul's statement to the press after her arrest on the way out of town:
We felt like we were backed into a corner, we had no recourse and we were given no other option. We are Aralynn's advocates. If we don't advocate for optimum health care for her, who will? That's a parent's responsibility.
She's absolutely right. If we don't fight for the very best care for our kids, who will? Certainly not some health insurance company.
If you aren't intimately familiar with medical jargon as a parent, you are forced to simply trust that the people at the hospital are "doing the right thing" with your kids. But when your child doesn't get any better and doesn't get any better and doesn't get any better, something has to give.
Parents need to know that a hospital is on their child's side. When they don't feel that way, they need to have options. We need to be able to advocate for our kids, to have our voices heard.
Do you feel any sympathy for these parents?
Image via flash.pro/Flickr