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.
- 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.Blessings!Rose L.