Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What Could be Worse?

The wife of a colleague of mine went in for surgery last week to remove a benign tumor on her liver. Her husband heads IT for a large company, and is almost a charicature of a computer geek - wears shorts all year round, and obsesses about the function of his computer network. She's a very nice, petit blond woman, and they have two super cute little blond girls, 3 and 5 years old. I met them all when they came to visit our sales conference. Their older girl said she wanted to grow up to be me... They're such a sweet family, and their father so obviously thinks he's the luckiest man in the world to have them.

Anyway, surgery went well, Linda was in the ICU for one day, and then last Thursday they moved her to the regular post-op ward. That evening she was able to get up and walk around with her husband's help. Then he went home to tend to the girls. At 1am he was called from the hospital. Linda had vomited during the night and aspirated her vomit. The monitors attached to her had sounded alarms, but there was no one at the nurses' station to hear them. By the time they got to her she was brain dead.

On Monday at 2pm they took her off life support. An hour later her husband sent out a companywide e-mail saying - Today I Lost the Love of My Life...

It's tough to express how shocked I was. On the one hand, Linda had obviously brought her husband so much joy. And on the other hand, her death was somehow worse than a random death in a traffic accident, or aslow death from cancer. It was sheer and utter and criminal negligence. Unspeakable negligence. At Los Robles hospital, in case you're wondering.


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