This morning I was brought silent. What is tragedy is also now a lawsuit. And the impetus for a new piece of state legislation. A mother giving birth a couple of weeks ago has become an advocate for reform, but not the kind of reform that would bring back her son or protect someone else’s son.
In response to the conflicted reporting, I wrote a response on behalf of my family that I encourage you to read on our family blog. And after reading the nasty and uncharitable responses on the paper’s webpage, I am compelled to comment here.
Tragedy is precisely that. Tragedy. Tragedy can be accidental or intentional. It can be negligent or ignorant. It can be hopeful or desperate. But in the end, all it is, and will be, is tragedy.
We have plenty of platitudes that we can say about life and about experts and professionals and institutions. We can defend ourselves and say
All I want is accountability,
to hold people accountable, but this is a fool’s gambit of desperate lunging toward an apparition of punishment mixed with the optimistic hope it will never happen again to anyone. Anyone at all. Until it does. And the sad truth is that babies die in childbirth. No matter what we want to believe. Just as babies die in car accidents and cribs and in moments in which a parent’s eyes turn away and then…
What then is accountability? What do we hope to accomplish? What is supposed to happen? I’m reminded of class action lawsuits that threaten giant corporations to hold them accountable, and yet they still ____ (polute / discriminate / mislead / use lead paint / eradicate their competition / etc.). No matter how big the lawsuit, there is no hope for accountability in the legal system. And to be fair, neither is there accountability in the passing of legislation. Neither case will bring accountability. Because, after all, accountability is an illusion.
The accountability this mother seeks would no doubt end the practice. Sparrow Hospital, on the other hand wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Is that accountability? Is accountability ending careers or reducing options? Is that how we define the word?
How about new legislation? Would that satisfy? Sorry, not even the most well-crafted law would provide either the results Ms. Snyder hopes for or better healthcare in the state. Lansing hospitals already have way above average rates of cesarean sections, so funneling more mothers through its hospitals won’t provide better outcomes than the unsatisfactory ones they already maintain. Will that make things better? And bring needed change?
No, only tragedy. The tragedy that we have and the tragedy to come. No matter how you slice it, none of this changes that simple truth: this is but a tragedy. And anything else is a distraction from it.
- Conflating Tragedy With Negligence (downsfamilyblog.wordpress.com)