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Author Topic: un-be-fscking-lievable !
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted May 29, 2007 20:46      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Following on from this thread comes this charming story of mans inhumanity to man.

Quick summary: a woman required regular use of an oxygen machine, having been recently released from hospital. During her stay in hospital, she fell behind in her bills. A representative of the electricity company arrived at her home, ignored the pleas of the sick woman and her children, and cut off the power.

Within 2 hours, surprise-sur-fscking-prise, the woman died.

The electricity company have expressed their condolences.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted May 29, 2007 21:08      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't want to be unreasonable here...but shouldn't the family have made a best effort to seek proper immediate care upon notification of the imminent power termination? If you know the power is going to be cut, and this is critical to a person's life, I should think that one would make a damn good effort to transport the patient to a location with electricity, and find a portable apparatus to sustain that journey. If that portable apparatus happens to be in the back of an ambulance summoned by the Aussie equivalent of 911/119/EMS, so be it.

This is a horrible situation, but I'm willing to be there's more than one source of blame at hand.

/me walks away twirling a power cord in his hands...really...I'm just about to plug a computer in - I haven't done any of the above. [Smile]
[Sorry, that was a bit tasteless. :-/]

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Just_Jess_B

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Icon 1 posted May 29, 2007 22:11      Profile for Just_Jess_B   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have to agree with DMan on this, that the blame needs to be spread around, and not just to the power company. If she was in that dire of straits, someone needed to handle the bills for her.

It is a very terrible thing anyway and one of the symptoms of globalization (the fact that the individual is so far removed from the person who provides the service that humanity is lost in translation).

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BJ
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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2007 09:54      Profile for BJ     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
*nods*, as horrible as the result is...

Is the power company just suppose to go "Ok we won't disconnect it" and come back once a month "You now owe 200...." month later... "You owe 300..." etc.

Eventually they were going to have to cut the power off. The real question here is... Was this almost assisted suicide...

If I needed electricy to live, and I knew the power was going to go out... I would do whatever the freakin' hell I could to get the heck out of that house, and to a place with power.

Maybe she didn't actually want to live? Maybe she'd just "given up". Not that that's what I want to think happened. But It's a possibility right? You're stricken with this disease. You're now attached to a machine and sick at home. *shrugs*.

What if someone hit a powerpole behind her house, and the whole neighborhood power went out. She would be in the same situation. However, she had several weeks notice that it was happening.

eh, My two cents =)

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supaboy
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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2007 10:01      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ISTR a clause somewhere with my power company that if electricity was necessary for life support, that it would not be cut off from a residence, even if that residence had not paid the power bills.

In the end, it probably ends up being much less expensive to keep the home of a person on life support powered than deal with the negative publicity.

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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2007 10:36      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
An extension cord to the neighbors may have been a reasonable thought.

It is amazing how disconnected from our neighbor modern humankind has become. (ignore the pun factor this once please)

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2007 15:21      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A couple* of comments...

1. CNN have updated the story since I posted, there's a picture of the victim now, she's a Maori (indigenous New Zealander). Somehow, I knew she would be.

2. I'm fairly disappointed with some of the comments above. An electricity company employee came to her home and killed her, and you're trying to make it (partly) her fault. Would you say a rape victim bears some of the blame because she shouldn't have been walking alone at night?

3. BJ: She owed $122. The power company killed her for $122. In civilized countries, the power company won't cut off your power if you have special medical needs, there are other ways of collecting on the debt.

* - a metric 'couple' = 3

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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2007 17:36      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's ironic, isn't it?

Righty sides with the power company, then it's Okee-Doakee to pull the plug.

Righty sides with Terry Schiavo, then no way in hell is it OK to pull the plug.

We've become a "values-driven" society, Druid. Under the new polytheistic Christian system, we must worship the Gods of Greed and Guns, too.

Unlike you, I'm not surprised at where the posts have ended up on this.

The real sad part here, is that the many of the posters in the "pull the plug for $122" crowd are legally allowed by social services to raise children.

Colonel Panic

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TMBWITW,PB

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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2007 18:10      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm a bit disheartened at the replies here, myself. $122 isn't nearly enough for a power company around here to terminate services, especially if there is medical equipement that relies on it. [Frown]

quote:

Sheehan said both Muliaga and her son told the technician she was dependent on the oxygen machine to stay alive and invited him into the house to see it. "Then he cut the power off," Sheehan told The Associated Press.

That is utterly unacceptable. At a bare minimum the technician should have said that the power would have to go off anyway and given them a few days to find alternate power sources or locations.

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2007 18:18      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Now I would like to add my two cents. Yes, it was wrong of the power company to cut the power supply of this lady but they aren't at fault at all.

The woman was given notice before hand that she had a bill of 122 due. Enough time to get 122 together to pay for this bill. Hey if she had a husband and kids whats stopping them from working and getting together 122 ? Plus even if that wasn't a possibility there is always the possibility of taking out a loan.

Shouldn't she of had some kind of back up power system. What would have happend if the power went out by natural causes? Is she just screwed ?

Okay you know that you need power to live. Your power goes out in your house. I think i am just going to sit there for two hours and not try to get some power.

Yes the power company could have worked out some deal. But if she obviosly didn't make an effort to collect the money then why should the power company make an effort to stop cutting her power.

I don't want to sound rude or evil or anything. But lets say i break my leg and i'm confined to a wheel chair and i die from starvation. Should the grocery store be sued for not getting me food?

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TMBWITW,PB

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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2007 18:45      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
Hey if she had a husband and kids whats stopping them from working and getting together 122 ? Plus even if that wasn't a possibility there is always the possibility of taking out a loan.

Any number of things. Have you ever been broke? I don't mean oh shucks you can't go to the movies this week, I mean not being sure where your next meal is coming from. I have been lucky enough to avoid that kind of situation, but friends of mine haven't. When you have to choose between eating for the next week and paying the power bill it's not hard to pick which one. Especially with the kids. And not everyone can get a loan.

quote:
Shouldn't she of had some kind of back up power system. What would have happend if the power went out by natural causes? Is she just screwed ?
So she can't afford to pay the power bill, but she can afford to have a generator on hand? Yeah, right.

quote:
I don't want to sound rude or evil or anything. But lets say i break my leg and i'm confined to a wheel chair and i die from starvation. Should the grocery store be sued for not getting me food?
False analogy. If the grocery store was making regular deliveries to someone who had no other way to get food, the payments fell behind, and the store cut off the food supply and let the person die of starvation then maybe they should be sued. But the analogy still doesn't work because you wouldn't die without food in two hours.

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted May 30, 2007 19:42      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't think any of the responses have been disappointing. It's not like anyone's saying she deserved to die. I think they're saying that the story as it's presented in the article seems unlikely, and they're being careful not to let the obvious emotional response lead them to any conclusions that might be false. That's admirable in my opinion.

It's easy to sympathise with the poor sick woman, but how about that poor representative? He's 22, college didn't work out and he's been stuck in that crappy depressing job for two years. He gets daily abuse from the people he's forced to visit, and he hears the same tired excuses over and over again - I need electricity to work, I need electricity to cook for my family, I need electricity to keep me alive... he know that 95% of the time they're making it up, but he still has to carry on following the script his company gives him otherwise he loses his job. Now he's sitting at home, wondering how he's going to live with no job and wondering if he's going to be charged with murder.

Sure, I just made up some emotionally charged ramblings. But until more details are released, it has as much validity as any claims about inhumanity and so on.

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mistersaxon
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Icon 2 posted May 31, 2007 02:47      Profile for mistersaxon     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm glad to see this couldn't happen in the land of the free:
Help me breathe, please . .

Well, in Maine, anyway. Except, of course, the first story on that link is the tragic suicide of a senior citizen who got behind on all his bills and ended his life in despair. So you don't need to have your power actually cut off in order for a utility bill to be fatal.

I'm saddened by both these stories but I do wonder what the other residents of the house could have done for this poor lady. Meanwhile, a pensioner dies alone, desperate and abandoned - and I'd be very surprised to learn that he was the only one - which is what can happen when you have no commandments and no Golden Rule to follow no moral "compass" except what you learn from society as a whole.

There was a time when society as a whole would educate you that this sort of thing was not acceptable, was, in fact, a disgrace and a shaming thing for a community to have happen. Nowadays, it seems that a fundamental right is broadband internet, not food, shelter, health care, company, dignity and respect.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted May 31, 2007 04:34      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As usual, the story isn't all that simple. Those who are interested might want to read the following pages:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4078471a11.html

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10442927

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Chesty
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Icon 1 posted May 31, 2007 21:11      Profile for Chesty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So we must teach only the theory of evolution in our schools.

Survival of the fittest.

But the same people who oppose the thought of GOD's divine power are the ones that insist that everyone be given the finest miracles of modern medicine at no cost.

Is that not messing with nature? Should we not let Evolution run its course?

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted May 31, 2007 21:19      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Chesty wrote:
So we must teach only the theory of evolution in our schools.

Survival of the fittest.

But the same people who oppose the thought of GOD's divine power are the ones that insist that everyone be given the finest miracles of modern medicine at no cost.

Is that not messing with nature? Should we not let Evolution run its course?


[Confused]

WTF are you talking about? There's nothing about religion in this story and electricity is not one of the "finest miracles of modern medicine."

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metasoap
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Icon 13 posted June 10, 2007 16:42      Profile for metasoap     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is appalling. It's entirely predictable that the power company is going to say that they had no knowledge of this woman's medical requirements.

If the family was at home - it's a reasonable belief they're going to object to the power being turned off. At twenty-two a person should be adult enough to assess a situation like that and choose a different route. That said, its common knowledge that males are more likely to take risks until about twenty-five.

The power company needed to mediate the situation. There's that little thing called Duty of Care - and advising that agents of the power company are oblivious to how the world works at a basic level cannot be grounds for defense.

If the blame doesn't rest on the technician, then it rests on the power company to train the technicians to be aware of these types of situations. This is not the first case of its kind - and as such, power companies need to address this as part of their business.

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fs

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Icon 1 posted June 11, 2007 03:13      Profile for fs   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"At that point we hadn't made the connection between the fact that there was a funeral to happen which is not a life-threatening situation for reconnection -- bearing in mind it was eight o'clock at night -- and the particularly tragic circumstances."

Those particularly tragic circumstances being that they killed her for less than $200.

Nevermind that the family, while still behind, was making payments (the power company doesn't even dispute that) and that their next payment was due June 13th. And that the contractor they hired to do the disconnection (good to hire contractors, btw, you don't have to pay for any medical insurance for them, so if they get really sick you are off the hook for their bills and can go terminate their power) was notified that their was medical equipment inside that relied on the electricity.

Nope, there was no excuse for it.

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Icon 1 posted June 13, 2007 06:48      Profile for business attire     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:

2. I'm fairly disappointed with some of the comments above. An electricity company employee came to her home and killed her, and you're trying to make it (partly) her fault. Would you say a rape victim bears some of the blame because she shouldn't have been walking alone at night?

I remember that thread.


does anybody actually have any information about her family? single mother with very small children wouldn't be able to do much about the situation immediately... are we assuming the children are teens or she has a husband?

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted June 13, 2007 07:19      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
According to one of the articles I linked, she was married and one of her sons was 20.

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Highlie
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Icon 1 posted June 13, 2007 07:46      Profile for business attire     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
psh. I'm at work. I don't have time to read...

but okay. that would have changed the circumstances a wee bit.

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fs

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Icon 1 posted June 13, 2007 17:42      Profile for fs   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by business attire:
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:

2. I'm fairly disappointed with some of the comments above. An electricity company employee came to her home and killed her, and you're trying to make it (partly) her fault. Would you say a rape victim bears some of the blame because she shouldn't have been walking alone at night?

I remember that thread.


does anybody actually have any information about her family? single mother with very small children wouldn't be able to do much about the situation immediately... are we assuming the children are teens or she has a husband?

Apparently she was married and had kids and they had no problem paying bills as a two income family, however when she got sick...

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted June 14, 2007 04:17      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Huh. Our local FOX affiliate just played a teaser for an upcoming story about a woman who bled to death in an emergency room due to a lack of care, even though her family asked for attention.

Are emergency rooms really that pathetic* or are these just random events?

*I'm thinking, of course, of the other thread about the woman who died in the ER after complaining of abdominal pain.

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WinterSolstice

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Icon 1 posted June 14, 2007 09:17      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Same LA hospital as the one where the woman died due to lack of care just recently.

Yay LA.

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Icon 1 posted June 15, 2007 11:54      Profile for business attire     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Got this in the fierce biotech newsletter I have to read for work:


1. King-Harbor ousts medical chief, considers closure

The fallout continued this week at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, which is struggling to cope with entrenched management and personnel problems. This week, the hospital's chief medical officer was replaced, following the highly-publicized death of a patient waiting for attention in the hospital's ED. Dr. Roger Peeks, who was brought in to overhaul the troubled hospital's medical operations, has been placed on "ordered absence" by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and replaced by top health department official Dr. Robert Splawn. The hospital has also reported that more than 40 percent of licensed vocational nurses and nursing assistants had recently failed initial skills tests.

At this point, the Board of Supervisors is talking about closing the facility, which serves many of the county's poorest neighborhoods. But even if the hospital wins back the Board's approval, it may have no choice but to close if it doesn't make an extremely rapid turnaround. Last week, King-Harbor failed a CMS inspection; it was given 23 days to improve or risk losing its federal certification. CMS descended on King-Harbor after it learned of the death of Edith Isabel Rodriguez, who died on its ED floor of a perforated bowel after waiting 45 minutes for medical attention.

ALSO: As Rodriguez died, patients called 911 in an effort to get her the help she needed. Article

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