My father died some months ago, and although I had determined – through consultation with attorneys – that no civil attorney would take the case, the rest of my family was not convinced. (No civil attorney would take the case because in the State of NJ, civil punishment against a doctor who commits gross malpractice is considered a “windfall” for the survivors, and therefore punitive civil damages are outlawed in NJ.) I believe that – if investigated by the prosecutor – a case could be made for some degree of manslaughter against at least two of the doctors involved in my father’s so-called care, but I agreed with my sibs to hold off on bringing it to the attention of the prosecutor’s office until they double-checked. Not only did they not double-check on their own, but they brought my mother along so that she’s in no shape to go through an interrogation again any time soon.
So now I’m ready to request prosecutorial investigation, as soon as I clear it with my employer (I work in government.) And of course my mother is all for letting my dad’s murderer off the hook, and I have a feeling my sibs will be as well. (Never mind how many cases the doctors screwed up before and how many people they may kill in the future: with no civil punitive damages, incompetent physicians only have to worry about cases where the patient survives with complications or is responsible for supporting minor children.)
One friend suggested that I meditate on it for a while, as the argument over bringing it to the prosecutor will probably sever all my family ties. (Never mind it’s what my father would have done if my mother had been treated similarly.)
One melody came to the harp, the words are:
The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
In the ranks of death you will find him;
His father’s sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;
“Land of Song!” said the warrior bard,
“Tho’ all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!”
Words of a UU hymn also came to mind:
Once to every soul and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Then to stand with Truth is noble,
While we share its wretched crust,
Ere that cause bring fame and profit,
And ’tis prosperous to be just.
Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet ’tis Truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong;
Then it is the brave one chooses,
While the cowards stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue
Of the faith they had denied.
If I do not pursue this, all that I am is a lie. I deny my own existence.
“With tragic joy he knew that this cusp was his, not Jill’s. His water brother could teach, admonish, guide – but choice at a cusp was not shared. Here was ‘ownership’ beyond any possible sale, gift, hypothecation; owner and owned grokked fully, inseparable. He eternally was the action he had taken at cusp.” – Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land