Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Stupid Death:

There’s not much that’s more depressing than arranging for a 21-year-old’s funeral. Except maybe calling his mother to tell her he died. Sigh. Even though I fervently believe in heaven, and know Jackson’s there, it’s not comforting me much because he went too soon. I remain stuck in the feeling that Jackson should not have died, that it was wrong, wrong, wrong and that it wouldn’t have happened, in my opinion, if OSF St. Francis Medical Center had accepted him, their former patient, back in May when John asked them to.

At Jackson’s visitation, an OSF employee came up to us in tears. The employee wanted to know if Sister Judith Anne Duvall, the president of OSF had received our e-mails pleading for Jackson’s life. Yes, John sent her these e-mails; most of them were directed to her. At this the employee started crying even harder. The employee stated said that they had heard a talk Sister Judith Ann had given this past Christmas season in which she emphatically stated that OSF would never turn away a child! “She lied,” the employee kept repeating.

This is what is so upsetting about OSF’s behavior: in my opinion, they are world class hypocrites. They will make pronouncement about not turning away a child, while they are doing that exact thing. This non-profit institution hides behind Catholic words and posturing while they act like the most cutthroat, capitalistic organization in town. From closing the mental health unit, to asking sick people how much their homes are worth, to dangerously monopolizing paramedic and ambulance service in Peoria, they behave like the most greedy, for-profit organization around. And they try to have it both ways, pretending to be a non-profit, good Catholic organization, while violating Catholic social teaching left and right.

My husband John and I have had many discussions about what to do re: OSF. He’s of the opinion that we need to continue to expose their misdeeds so that people know what’s going on. I actually think he’s done a good job of this, especially given that criticizing OSF, the second largest employer in town, tends to paralyze people—editors, elected officials, employees, average citizens—with fear. But I don’t know if we’ve ever lived in more apathetic times. We know of people who have lost loved ones due to the incompetence of AMT, the ambulance company that is co-owned by the three Peoria hospitals and that has a monopoly on paramedic and ambulance care in Peoria, and they won’t be publicly critical of AMT or OSF because they are afraid of repercussions. If this is the case, people sure aren’t going to go to bat for some sick Haitian kid, right Mr. Cobb?

John wants to keep fighting OSF in the hopes that people will wake up, join the fight and change will ensue. I view OSF as a black hole that sucks the energy and life out of anyone (except John) who tries to oppose it. In much the same way that we deserve President Bush, perhaps we deserve what we’re getting in central Illinois. In my opinion, we tolerate OSF’s bad behavior and permit it to continue. One day, the chickens will come home to roost.

As for now, we’ll mourn Jackson and continue to work in Haiti and get the occasional kid out for medical care.

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