Denial of service leads to Black infant’s death

Six weeks ago, a young mother raced her nine-month-old child to Children’s Hospital in South Minneapolis. Three weeks later, with her child showing symptoms of pneumonia, the mother returned her baby to Children’s Hospital. X-rays were taken. Staff confirmed the child had advanced pneumonia. 

But according to the evidence that has been gathered, the child was turned away and, having received none of the required medical examination protocols to attempt to preserve its life, died shortly thereafter. Let’s hope the baby’s family’s eventual lawsuit fares better with the justice system than did the Jamar Clark family.

What is a “protocol”? Most companies, agencies, and especially hospitals and clinics must follow federal and state codes or protocols regarding medical procedures (“compliance,” “rules of conduct,” “regulations,” etc.). When not followed, a protocol can become, to borrow a novel’s title, a “Protocol of a Damnation.”

Our question is simple, based on evidence and discussions: Why weren’t the healing protocols followed? The baby needed medicine, but confusion at the hospital regarding insurance resulted in the hospital not filling the prescription. So the young mother went to Walgreens, where confusion over eligibility to receive medication again resulted in another denial of lifesaving medicine for her baby. Within two hours of returning home without the medicine, the baby died.

The funeral was held. The baby was cremated. If not for the efforts of Brooks Funeral Home, the child could not have had the funeral due to the cost being beyond the reach of the mother and her family. I talked about this on my worldwide radio program. 

How will the legal system respond? Already attorneys are in place seeking justice. But studying Minnesota law and reflecting on hospital legal documents can still leave the result in question. If you are assigned to the general wing of the hospital, the chances are that you will not be afforded medical care — sad news for children of color in Minneapolis and America.

We all realize that America’s healthcare system is broken and needs fixing. And, we know that part of the fracturing of the healthcare system is driven by forces denying equal care due to various reasons, including race and poverty. Denial of service is harmful and thus does not meet the Hypocritic Oath of “Do no harm.”

The debate is over who pays and how. The eligibility question is about when race and poverty will be taken out of the equation.

Over the past 16 years of this column, I have often written about how medical care becomes selective, which is an abandonment of the goal of providing medical care for all.  So, when I received a request to again write of this in terms of the nine-month-old baby, I saw an opportunity to again examine the systematic medical malpractice against the interests and safety of persons of color.  

The tragic death of this nine-month-old reminds us of how prevalent medical malfeasance can become. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that The ACA (Affordable Care Act, or “Obama Care”) is constitutional. That is now being challenged in a court that says part of ACA is “unconstitutional and inseverable,” which therefore invalidates the whole Act.  

So now, it’s not “if” but “when” health care is fixed, including coverage of catastrophic medical expenses for all. Since 1912, seven presidents (Republican/Progressive Teddy Roosevelt was the first) have tried to pass healthcare legislation (three Republicans and four Democrats).

Nixon proposed it, but the Democrats said no. Carter proposed it, but Ted Kennedy said “Hold it” until he was president. So far we only have Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.  

Will Minnesota back efforts to provide medical care for all rather than only for selected citizens? Let us all pray for a better future. 

Stay tuned.

Ron Edwards is an author and hosts radio and TV shows.

One Comment on “Denial of service leads to Black infant’s death”

  1. Thanks to Ron Edwards and the Spokesman-Recorder for bringing this sad story to the public’s attention. I hang my head in sorrow thinking about the loss of this innocent child, and the family, due to the systemic, institutional malfeasance of our healthcare institutions and the healthcare system that sits idle as this child dies -because this Black family didn’t have the ready change to pay for a needed medication. And this occurs at one of the world’s premier children’s hospitals right here in Minneapolis. I can’t quite get my head around this -I know what happened, but it’s just plain wrong!

Comments are closed.