Saturday, August 31, 2013

When God Answers Out Loud

Some days God speaks softly to my heart. So softly I must close my eyes to concentrate on what He is saying. Other days, like today-He answers me out loud. Loud enough that anyone who was listening would hear His message. Believer or non-believer, His thunderous voice left no one to challenge His authority.

These are the days that make having Faith seem easy. Everything, if only for a moment falls into place and makes sense. The only thing we cannot do-is bring Shannon back. That would be our first choice, but it is not an option in this case. God has heard my prayers for justice and answered them with favor. 

I did not pray for evil to befall anyone. I did not pray for harm to come to anyone. I only wanted truth and honor and justice for my daughter. Tears have been shed, sorrow has been shared, condolences have been offered, but responsibility had not been taken until today. When God answered out loud.

It wasn't a matter of looking to place blame on someone. It was a matter of knowing things had gone horribly wrong and no one was taking responsibility for their lack of care and appropriate action. Even her cries were quietly ignored as she slipped further and further away. How do you profess to be a preserver of life, and watch someone suffer and do little to nothing to give them a fighting chance to live? How do you go home and sleep at night knowing you should have done something to save a life but you were so lost in the errors you had created, you literally did nothing-and her life gradually faded away.

Is life so casual to you that you can walk away from someone not knowing the fate of your error? Are you so misguided to think you have the right to take someones life without so much as a backward glance as you exit the building? Surely, you know God is all forgiving, but first you must make peace with those you have harmed. When was that going to happen?

I will sleep tonight knowing my daughter's voice was finally heard. I cannot judge the actions of another, nor do I want to, but I am responsible for owning my mistakes and not using my mistake to hide behind and try to overstate the obvious. We, as humans might be able to trick or fool another human, but when God answers out loud, He speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves.

As a mother-we feel when our children are in need of us. We feel their pain and we know instinctively when something is wrong. Intuitively, we respond to their cry for help. Never be afraid to answer that call. Never be ashamed to ask questions. Never doubt your gut feelings.

The death of a child is a nightmare. Reliving the nightmare was torture watching my son-in-law suffering through the last two weeks of trial, and my daughters grieving for the loss of their sister as they heard the evidence of malpractice against Dr. Robert P. Ferrara, a cardiologist who works at (St. Johns) Mercy Hospital as part of the Mercy Clinic Heart and Vascular. A jury found Dr. Ferrara's malpractice caused or contributed to the death of my daughter, Shannon Dodson.

God's voice rang loud and clear through the courtroom as the verdict was read aloud. Bittersweet tears were shed for Shannon and the family. Nothing will replace my daughter's life, but her voice deserved to be heard. Since the doctor did not want to listen in the Cath Lab, God decided He would answer Out Loud!

My message is this-ask questions. There is no such thing as a routine procedure. Ask for credentials. Ask for plans in case of emergencies. Ask for second opinions. Ask until you feel comfortable with the answers you are provided- Do not allow yourself to be bullied by the healthcare providers. Do not allow them to ignore your requests for consults. Do not tolerate their arrogance or indifference. They should never be too busy to comfort or respond to a patient.

Whether you are a spouse or a parent (and I do not care how old the child is) if it doesn't feel right-ask. As a parent we are intuitive, and we need to follow our gut instincts. I have to work on my approach, granted; but I still am of the belief it is my responsibility and right to ask and get answers regarding the care and treatment of my children.

Some days, our challenge is to follow in the Lord's footsteps. He is so Forgiving and Loving. I am not there yet. I am still sad and angry that people can be so callous and uncaring. Especially people we trust who are in a position of caring for us and healing our hurts. I expect empathy and compassion, as well as responsive and timely care. Knowing that my daughter was treated so poorly and I couldn't be with her to soothe her or at least calm her fears, hurts so deeply, I cannot explain the pain. I am angry with myself for relying on the doctor to provide proper care, and yes-I am saddened that she trusted Mercy with her life, literally.

I cannot express enough the importance of pre-procedure consultation and discussion. Please be fully aware before you undergo any procedure, not just the risks of the procedure, but the capabilities of the physician performing the procedure in ordinary situations and the plan of action for emergent situations should they arise.  If you do not clearly feel confident in the plan, forego the procedure, if possible. Get a second opinion, consider all your options, other facilities, and avenues of determining tests that are available to you to meet your diagnostic needs.

I honestly feel that Shannon's voice went unheard in the hospital, so God answered out loud in the courtroom.

        Update from Jason Dodson, husband of Shannon and father of Jason, Jr., Eva and Gus.
  1. There are a couple of things I want people to know: 1. I am extremely grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support, love and prayers for me and the kids; 2. Yes, Robert Ferrara, M.D. still works at Mercy. This was a civil case where the jury only had the power to award money damages. There is a separate and secret proceeding that would occur with the Missouri Board of Healing Arts; and 3. ...There is a law in Missouri that severely limits the amount of damages that can be levied against a doctor who kills his or her patient, no matter what the jury does. The jury award will be severely reduced by the judge because of this law.

    I won't editorialize about points 2 and 3 right now because I have nothing nice to say about them.

    Rose L.