Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Know what I do NOT want to be when I Grow Up

I spent a good part of yesterday crying in my office. I'm having to cover for a child welfare attorney who is out of the office. I didn't expect to have to do much other than sign a few documents. Instead I got pulled into an emergency meeting first thing yesterday morning.

Two babies, one not much younger than my own. A call to EMS because the youngest is found unresponsive in a bathtub, where the #^(&% parents left he and his sibling unattended. Who the hell leaves two children under 2 in the tub alone? The baby was airlifted to our children's hospital where he is in a coma with a 1% chance of survival. I got to work on the paperwork, and see the pictures of this adorable little baby on all sorts of tubes.

There are the complicated legal and medical tidbits that serve to distract me for a few minutes - no evidence of water in the lungs, so what happened? If he didn't drown, what caused it? Can we prove the parents did it? Is leaving a child alone in the tub alone enough to take custody (I decided it was). Parents want to take the baby off life support, so do we take custody before then (in which case we have to make the DNR decision) or leave custody with the parents and let them be responsible - do they deserve that responsibility? Will it haunt them the rest of their life like it will if I have to do it?

All I can say is hug your children tight. Be very thankful to those that have the calling to work with abused children - it is definitely a calling and not something I want to do. If you're the praying type, pray for this little one. There was a slight improvement over the night in his condition. The next day is critical. And remind me that murder is not legal so I need to keep my hands off the parents.

13 comments:

Ethereal Highway said...

Just a friendly reminder per your request - murder is not legal. Though I TOTALLY understand the desire. Totally. I hope the poor baby makes it.

{{{{{{{{Enola}}}}}}}}

Tracie said...

I need to remind you ....and me.... that murder is not legal. No matter how much it may be deserved.

I'll be praying!

lawyerchik said...

Oh, Enola, I am so sorry that you have to handle this!! [[[[HUG]]]]

Now for the practical stuff: 1) if there is no evidence of water in the lungs, then it is possible that the child was put into that condition before being left in the tub. It is possible that the tub was used as a convenient scapegoat for whatever happened to the child beforehand.

2) My recommendation: If you can do it, take custody of BOTH children now. Don't let the DNR order haunt you; you did nothing to put that child in that position, and it might be the best thing for that child to let him or her finally be at peace.

If the doctors who are treating the baby say that he or she could recover, give the baby some time. Kids are physically resilient, not that that's any reason to do whatever one wants with them.

3) Where is the other child, and who is looking after him or her?

4) Murder is not legal. Murder is not legal. Murder is not legal.

Hang in there, Enola. I will pray for both of you - the baby and you as you deal with this.

Lynx217 said...

Oh my **********! I'm not sure I could restrain myself. I'm really not. I agree though - get custody of BOTH of those kids and NOW. God knows you don't want BOTH kids in the hospital. Screw the "parents" - no real parent would do anything like that.

Exhale said...

I feel for you, very tough job...take gentle care of yourself

Ethereal Highway said...

How is the baby doing, Enola? Any change in his condition?

lawyerchik said...

Yes - any news?

[also: how are you holding up?]

Enola said...

No change.

I'm doing better. Nothing to do in the case until Monday morning. Even then the other attorney will return and handle the bulk of it.

Anonymous said...

Gosh sorry to hear that, I pray for the little one to recover, please do keep us informed, and please be strong, I know you are, hugs from Spain

Colleen said...

Hugs and prayers.

pip said...

I just read a post by Mary333 about how anger can be our friend. You channeled your justified anger very well here and can be proud of yourself. This work is indeed a vocation, as all vocations present crosses that can at times seem unbearable. But you did great in your 'temporary vocation' ... maybe after a period of reflection, you may find the desire to pick up this particular cross again, who knows? It would be important to discern well of course, and not assume the parents are always guilty, but I believe you are more than up to the task if called upon again. It may not be easy, but it is sure worth it. Well done again :)

Enola said...

NOTE - there is a meeting of the doctors today to discuss taking the child off life support.

And in other news, another family we are involved with was in a car accident. The parent was driving during one of their visitations and pulled out in front of someone. One child was killed on impact - two others are hospitalized.

lawyerchik said...

Ouch. You have had a rough week, my friend!! Give your babies an extra hug....

(P.S. I might be able to scare up some chocolate.....)