Monday, March 4, 2013

An Unwillingness To Take Action

Take a gander at this paragraph taken from an article in E Online about the Australian miners fired for dancing underground:
"According to the report, while there were only eight men in the clip, another seven were purportedly bystanders watching the dance and not participating, and they, too, were sacked. Some of the men are now said to be mulling a lawsuit seeking reinstatement."
So, when it comes to burning people alive in Papua New Guinea, the bystanders who sat by and watched a young woman tortured and killed face no repercussions for their heinous apathy of watching the crime without intervening. The global community may have shuddered after hearing about the murder of Kepari Leniata but it seems few, if any in New Guinea or the world-wide community believe the bystanders who watched should have accountability for their lack of action. As of the last report I read, only two people had been charged in the case and they were the two who carried out the "physical" acts of torture and murder. At least forty people in the crowd were brought in for questioning but were released for lack of evidence. They walked away with nothing other than questioning. Considering there were police and firefighters on hand (who supposedly couldn't get to the woman because the crowd stopped them), how could these civil workers not have seen the faces of the people who prevented them from saving the woman? 

Updated section.

I've added this section after publishing and after receiving comments from readers so please be aware that comments beforehand didn't see this section. Closer to home, we have the incident involving Lorraine Bayless, the 86 year old woman who an independent living facility staff member refused to give CPR to because of company policy. How can someone follow company policy that is so asinine and more concerned about lawsuits than human life?  And equally as vile, the company came out and said the staff member did the right thing by refusing to give CPR. If one listens to the 911 tape, you will hear this horrible exchange:

911 dispatcher: "Is there anybody there that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?"
Glenwood Gardens staff member: "Not at this time,"

The dispatcher continues to try and even asks if they will flag down a passer by:

"Can we flag someone down in the street and get them to help this lady?” the dispatcher says. “Can we flag a stranger down? I bet a stranger would help her.”

And still the nurse(s) refuse. Think that's rock bottom for behavior from the nurse? It grows worse in my opinion. Listening to the taped call, I can hear the nurse talking to someone in the background saying, "She [she being the 911 dispatcher] is yelling at me and we have to have one of our residents perform CPR. I'm feeling stressed and I"m not going to do that"

Simply unbelievable. I, for one, believe Glenwood Gardens should close its doors. In fairness of full disclosure to show that much of this section is solely my opinion,  the family of the woman who died say that while Lorraine Bayless didn't have a DNR in place, she had opted to live in the community without CPR knowingly and wanted to pass away without intervention. This does say whether or not the Glenwood Gardens nurse(s) knew this fact and if they did, they should have immediately informed the dispatcher. In my opinion, any facility that provides care for the elderly should do more than simply call 911 and wait. The dispatcher offered to talk the staff member through how to provide CPR. If someone asked me, the choice would be clear: accept being fired and accept the responsibility of trying to save the woman's life. As for Do-Not-Resuscitate directives, Glenwood Gardens should have been aware beforehand if there was or wasn't one in place. (The lasted update in an article in Healthland Time indicates a DNR did not exist on file but the daughter of the 87 year woman was "satisfied" with the care supplied).  If a DNR was in place, the 911 caller should have told the 911 dispatcher about this immediately so that the dispatcher wouldn't have gone into desperation mode trying to save the elderly woman. I tip my hat in respect to the dispatcher for trying.  While the actions of Glenwood Gardens disgusts me, the dispatcher is the polar opposite and is a caring person I'd be proud to have in my community.

Oddly,  it would seem there is considerable angst against "do-gooders" like myself who are calling this issue a problem. The claim is that not everyone wants to be resuscitated.  That's understandable but let's not put our 911 dispatchers through any more hell than they already deal with. There was no DNR on file with the fire department so the dispatcher or any other rescue personnel would attempted to save her. If you don't want to be medical attention, take the time to file a DNR properly. Our rescue teams deserve every little bit of help they can bit. 

End of updated section.

I'm angry and am off track from the core issue of this posts. I doubt my anger over what happened to Kepari Leniata will ever subside as it is unbelievably cruel to torture a young woman with hot irons and then burn her to death afterward. It's equally as cruel to stand by and watch. To some extent, being aware of the tragedy was one of a series of life-changing events that happened in a short time frame that has altered my view on life. It's not that I'm naive. I understand how the world works all too well. But there are some things that once seen, can't be unseen.
Returning to the issue at hand, reading through the story about the Australian miners, it would seem that when it comes to business, lesser actions warrant firings and lifetime bans. Does anyone else see a problem with this type of thinking? I realize both events happened in different countries under different laws as well as one being murder and the other a safety hazard. But shouldn't the murder warrant far stricter responses and scrutiny from officials? But it seems to be near universal for people to accept business decisions that enforce professionalism and internal rules, yet they turn a blind eye to spectators at a murder. And more entities will likely be involved in the miner incident because money is now involved due to potential lawsuits. 

I lower my head in shame for how our society functions. I lower my head in shame for Kepari Leniata and how we allowed her to lose her life in a horrible way while we give excuses like, "It's a superstitious community in Papua New Guinea community." Superstitious or not, we are a civilized world. Torture is not acceptable. Murder with a crowd standing about is not acceptable. When society looks at murder and dancing in both contexts, Kepari Leniata and the Australians, harsh punishments to miners for dancing and a weak response to Kepari Leniata's murder should raise more than eyebrows. It should incite action to force us to change for the better.
At what point is being involved interference? If we see crimes against humanity such as with Kepari Leniata and do nothing, are we being apathetic or are we accepting life as "this is the way it is?" Is it different than gawkers at Sandy Hook? Or is it the same? These are hard questions I don't have rational answers for. I do know that gawkers don't take lives while spectators who can take action might have been able to save a life. Whether we choose to accept life as it is or take action against the what we believe is wrong, it's up to each individual. The world is full of wrong and we could spend our entire lives trying to play enforcer. But even so, there is a point where I think we must take action even if it costs me in some manner. Be it using a fire extinguisher in a gas station or a potentially far more dangerous situation, if I think I can make a real difference, am I not obligated, even if only morally, to do something for my fellow human beings?

On a related note, a true hooray goes out to the state of Vermont for having a rule on the books to issue a fine for not helping a person in distress. While I realize it is a tricky scenario since people set traps by acting in distress, we can't as a society become so cold that we can watch people suffer or die because we refuse to become involved.