Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hi all,
With his permission, I am forwording Stephen Drake's message (below) regarding the case of Ruben Navarro. The Cilla Sluga blog Steve recommends reading sheds a very different light on this story as compared to mainstream media reports and Steve does a nice job of summarizing the issues below.

In order to think about ways that FRIDA might respond to this case I’d like to know what others see as the feminist aspects involved. For example, and just to get started, is the effective breaking up of Rosa’s small family (just her and Ruben) after Rosa became disabled a feminist issue? Is the hospital’s treatment of Rosa Navarro (ignoring her) a feminist issue? Are there more feminist points in the case?

Nothing formal here, stream-of-consciousness thinking is fine. I’m just trying to flesh out what the uniquely feminist issues to this tragedy could be and I could use all of your thoughts on this.
Thanks in advance. Sharon


Ruben Navarro, whose death was allegedly "hastened" by a
transplant physician in full view of other medical professionals,
is a disability story.

But you wouldn't know it from the press coverage.

That needs to change. Right now, the news is dominated by ethicists,
lawyers and medical advocates of all stripes, all of them coming to the front to talk about the concerns they have about how this incident will affect their respective interests.

For the fullest account of Navarro's life and death, I urge advocates and
activists to read the following blog entry by Cilla Sluga, an Illinois
disability advocate who is the mother of an adult with disabiblities and who has acquired disabilities herself as an adult:

According to Cilla, whose research on the coverage and documentation
is comprehensive:

Ruben Navarro was placed in a nursing home due to his mother's
disabilities and lack of ability to find in-home support.

At the nursing home, Ruben Navarro developed bedsores due to neglect. He
also experienced harmful seizures due to staff neglect in giving him
appropriate anti-seizure medication.

The seizures are what landed him in the hospital where his health
declined. On life support, his mother was told there was a five-day limit for giving life-support.

As most reading this are aware, Ruben Navarro was given massive doses
of morphine and ativan by a transplant surgeon who wasn't supposed to
touch Navarro until he'd been declared dead. This occurred in full view of
numerous other medical professionals, none of whom have suffered legal or
professional penalties or sanctions.

In a state where assisted suicide is still a hot and popular topic, the
disability community cannot afford to be silent. This is about the lack of proper community support, abuse and neglect in institutions, the devaluing of our lives in medical settings, and the lack of accountability that exists for members of the medical profession.

As this case progresses, there will be numerous opportunities to speak out
about issues important to ADAPT, Not Dead Yet and others in the disability
community. Our voices are the best chance to affect the dialog about this
issue in a way that will prevent repeats.

Right now, the big concern in the public dialog appears to be that the
publicity surrounding this will negatively impact the rate of organ donation.

That's important, but so was the life of Ruben Navarro - and the lives of
others left similarly vulnerable.

Stephen Drake
Research Analyst
Not Dead Yet
7521 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130