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Reply #16: parents like her disgust me, to be frank. [View All]

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crimsonblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 12:41 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. parents like her disgust me, to be frank.
My father was the physician of record when one of the first AIDS case hit north central KS in the mid-80s. The patient was a boy from the area, who had gotten HIV from a contaminated blood transfusion. The town erupted against the child out of hate and fear, and the boy's last few months were pure hell. Citizens in the town demonized the boy, and railed against my father for treating him. My mom has told me that she received phone calls and "visits" from "concerned townsfolk" telling her to move away and keep us children (my sisters and I) away from my dad because we too might "catch the AIDS." Under pressure, the boy's parents declined any sort of end-of-life care or assistance. I still vividly remember the pain in my dad's eyes when he told me about this 10 years ago. Although there was no adequate treatment options at the time, my dad felt helpless, useless, and despicable because he could do nothing to diminish or end the boy's suffering. From the accounts of my oldest sister (I was just a toddler), our parents went through a very difficult time after that, because my dad didn't know if he could still be a physician. Physicians need to have final say in the medical care of children, because parents cannot be accounted upon to make the best decisions for the child. Once you are of legal age, then it becomes your right to decline care. This boy was 16 years old (not yet of legal age of consent), and he was begging my father for aid and a means to diminish his pain. Imagine quickly wilting away to nothing, having your tongue turn pitch black due to fungal infections, your internal organs devouring themselves, and the feeling of drowning in one's lungs. And then imagine the parents declining painkillers or antibiotics to the boy because they were convinced by the pastor that the boy was possessed by demons and the only cure was exorcism, and later baptism. The boy died, and my family moved from that community a month later. I don't think my father has been the same since.
(I'd like to note that this is my anecdotal recreation of the events, and may not be wholly accurate, due to human emotions, the passage of time, and my own desire to preserve confidentiality. Although individual events may not be accurate, the story of the boy and his death is.)
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