Posts Tagged With: lawyer

Why

Mom. Why Mom died.
What I remembered and/or assumed these years are about as follows: after Dad died, Mom had lots of stress. Obviously. Since she had 10 kids and she was the main adult responsible for them all. She worked two jobs although she did receive state assistance. Because of this stress and grief placed upon her, her health and immune system got pretty weak. Then one day she was carrying a box and tripped backwards and fell on a parking lot curb, shattering her tailbone. This prevented her from walking, she became bedridden, went to hospitals several times, eventually began losing her breath and voice, got worse, finally caught some MRSA (or something of that sort at the hospital), was quarantined(?), went into a coma, and finally passed away.
However, I was just visiting Aunt A yesterday and we got to talking about that tragic part of our life and I learned a few things that I wasn’t aware of. Here they go:

When Mom fell after carrying that box, the edges of the (apparently heavy) box struck her right in the chest area, “breaking” some veins. I am by no means a medical expert so I have no clue of correct terms or vocabulary regarding medical conditions. This created a huge bruise and because of the poor blood circulation, it negatively affected her breathing. The broken(cracked?) part of the tailbone either twisted or somehow messed up her hips/legs. She then went to a home-based homeopathic doctor who placed or corrected the hip into place and it was on its way to fully heal. But the breathing part was still a problem so Mom went to the local hospital to get them to check her out. They did a scan and saw the mass in the chest area. So they said it’s cancer. The Aunt & Uncle who were present were confused; how could it be cancer? The hospital staff said that since her (Mom’s) husband died from cancer, then she (Mom) has cancer too. Ok, what? How is that even related? It’s not contagious. Duh. Well since they were both close to the Chernobyl region when the explosion happened. My Uncle A was outraged. He said, (yelled? threatened?) to provide another diagnosis that isn’t cancer. He must have had quite the outburst because he was either arrested or escorted out by security. Because the hospital wasn’t doing anything else to see if there could be another reason for this “mass” in Mom’s chest, my aunts and uncles decided to take her to UW Medical Center to be evaluated and helped out.

Right away they contacted the first hospital and got their opinion and without doing further tests said that they wouldn’t find anything different. Then that night (or another night) as my aunt was watching Mom, she saw that Mom’s arms were unusually swelling up with fluids. She saw that the IV wasn’t just dripping fluid but streaming constantly. So, emergency button, other nurses came, fixed it. The next night (or another night) Uncle B was watching Mom. Mom had a breathing attack in the middle of the night so the doctor who was on night duty came. Since he wasn’t familiar with the case, he did what anyone in his position should do: he checked to see what was the thing causing this shortage of breathing. He inserted some little tube with a light at the end of it into her chest and looked around and said there are some broken veins (terminology?). She needs to have a surgery to fix that and she’ll be fine. Wait, what? It’s something fixable? Yay! So what is this surgery like? Basically it’s an incision, which would go into and wherever the vein is broken it would get “pushed through” or “cleared up” so blood can continue flowing normally and restore the circulation, etc. OK, can you do the surgery now? No, first because the doctor who is assigned to this patient needs to go through all the paperwork, make it happen, etc., and second, she needs antibiotics for a few weeks before being ready for surgery.

OK. Mom requested to go home for the antibiotic treatment. Uncle A received a letter from the hospital saying that it is not cancer. A little while later Mom had another breathing attack and went to the local hospital. By the way, this whole time she’s been slowly getting weaker and weaker. At the hospital they did a few more tests. They said that surgery cannot be done because antibiotics were administered too late. It should have been done right away. Her situation became where the blood was either clotting, or something was happening to the veins, where it was going or collapsing into her lungs. At this point it was too late to do anything. Actually it was not possible to do anything now. If she had gotten antibiotics from the very beginning, she’d have been ready for surgery soon after, would have had that surgery, and would have been fine. So at that point in the hospital she got that infection (MRSA?) where one person at a time was allowed to come in, completely dressed up in the quarantine uniform and say their goodbyes because she was passed out in a coma and wasn’t coming out anymore. That’s how I had my last talk with her and told her that I loved her and apologized for all the times I was a brat.
And to think that she died because the hospital didn’t do their job in the first place but made an assumption. Is that medical malpractice? Do they look at insurances and pick and choose who to treat and who not to? Nationality? Citizenship status? And to make it worse, on the death certificate they wrote cancer. Which always made me wonder how in the world do you get two parents to die from cancer? It makes me wish I was a lawyer so I could know if there’s anything to do about this. But then at the same time this happened over a decade ago so it would probably be impossible to do anything anyways.
And that’s why she died.

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Jury Duty

When I received a jury summons in the mail, I was excited! But when I shared that information with others, most responses were “I’m so sorry!” What? Looking online, there were plenty of tips of how to get out of jury duty. What? Why would somebody NOT want to be on jury duty? Oh well. I would go and find out for myself what this whole business was all about and why people want to avoid it.

 

The first day I showed up, paid $13 for parking, and went through the security line. I checked in with my badge and found a seat in the jury waiting room. It was a long room filled with rows and rows of seats, all the way to the back and along the walls. There must have been at least several hundred of those seats. After sitting for about half an hour, a video came on, explaining the jury selection process, thanking those of us who showed up, and what a great privilege we have to be here. Then a woman came up and announced the first jury selection: 100 people for a three-week trial. Those who believe they will have a hardship because of this trial were encouraged to fill out a form explaining the hardship. Mine was simple: I couldn’t miss three weeks of my last four weeks of school. And easy as that, I was dismissed for the day, but still had to return the next day.

The next day, I was selected for another case. It was a criminal case, where the defendant was charged with 2nd degree domestic abuse. My number was 7, so I got to sit in the jury box in the judge’s courtroom, while the remaining people were in the rows.

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The jury selection is a looooong process! There are so many questions asked: any travel plans or appointments for the duration of the trial, examples of events that happened to you or somebody you know that may prevent you from being impartial, etc. Not only the judge was asking, but the two lawyers from both sides. After two days of jury selection, the lawyers were finally satisfied with the jury box and the extra people got sent home.

Finally the trial began. Both sides gave their opening statements.

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One of the witnesses came up after that. Intense questioning began. It is fascinating to observe the certain way a question must be formulated, or else the opposing side will stand up and yell “OBJECTION! Due to leading question!” or something to that effect, and the judge would either allow or not allow that question.

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The next few witnesses were admitted within the next two days.

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As one of the jurors, here is my first-hand experience of the process: arrive in the morning to the special hallway. Enter the juror deliberation room. Sit for a while until the bailiff calls you into the courtroom. Listen to judge/lawyers/witnesses/evidence. As soon as a controversial topic is approached by the lawyers, jurors get sent back to juror room. Sit some more. Go back to courtroom.  Listen to judge/lawyers/witnesses/evidence. Break time! Go back to juror room. Sit some more. Look at each other (it’s more interesting than those few magazines). Go back to courtroom.  Listen to judge/lawyers/witnesses/evidence. Get dismissed for lunch. This was the real break, because you were allowed to actually leave the room AND the building, but still cannot talk about the case. Return from lunch and repeat above-mentioned steps. Go home. Repeat for several days.

So while the whole process was very exciting to observe, I realized it’s incredibly inefficient and slow. After the closing statements were made, the jurors were finally able to meet in the deliberation room to DELIBERATE. One of the jurors volunteered to be the main deliberator. We voted and quickly agreed on a verdict that the defendant was not guilty!

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So although I missed a week and a half of college classes, I would not trade this experience. Yes, I have to make up lots of work, but being able to participate in our country’s judicial system was completely worthwhile!

 

 

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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