Sunday, August 10, 2008

9th of Av

Given our situation, reading the verse "We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows" (Eichah 5:3) is every bit as devastating as you'd imagine.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Would you murder and also inherit?

This being a widow, I see now, means exposure to one injustice after another. (For example, if he had died 64 days later, after being granted disability payments, I would have gotten 17,000 NIS for burial expenses. Because Benjy was so sick that he only lived 27 days after diagnosis, and so saved the government the disability benefits, I get nothing.) Today's, though, really makes me burn.

Today's mail brought a bill for 632 NIS from Magen David Adom, for "transportation and treatment of Benjamin Cohen." Logical enough, had they done any transportation or treatment. However, due to MDA's own screw-ups, they did neither, but still want their pound of flesh.

Within a few minutes of Benjy's unofficial death, one of our neighbors took a break from the resuscitation efforts to call for a Critical Care Unit. Five minutes later we are told that the CCU at the bottom of our hill is out of commission with a flat tire. A few minutes after that MDA called for a regular ambulance from a town 25 minutes away.

In the meantime, since there was no CCU available, the army sent one of its Critical Care Ambulances, fully loaded and staffed by a doctor. The MDA regular ambulance finally arrived 25 minutes after being called (37 minutes after Benjy had died) -- the same travel time it takes a car not going over speed limit. 18 minutes after the MDA ambulance got here, the army doctor declared the death. The MDA volunteer printed out a report (which stated that resuscitation had been done by a different medical team, and that the death had been declared by a non-MDA physician) and left, with Benjy stretched out on my living room floor.

I tried speaking to someone at MDA when the mail came in, trying to understand: if there was no transportation and no treatment, what am I being charged for? The man on the other end of the phone said it was for the declaration of death. So I found the phone number of the doctor who declared the death and he confirmed that he came with the army ambulance.

Riddle me this: MDA came too late to help. If there had been any chance of saving Benjy, it would have required the critical care unit, which was sidelined -- how stupid a reason is this to die? -- because of a flat tire. Since they didn't do a blessed thing because of their own incompetence (Hi. You're an ambulance service. Maybe you should periodically check your vehicles before they're needed?) do they really deserve to make some money off Benjy's death?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

30 for Benjamin Cohen Z"L

The first 30 days of mourning for Benjy are almost over. If anyone reading would like to attend the evening in his memory, here are the details:

Wednesday July 16 2008, 13 Tammuz 5768, Har Bracha

18:45 unveiling in the Har Bracha cemetery

The rest of the schedule will take place in the Har Bracha synagogue:

19:15 Mincha
19:30 Father/son study
20:15 Maariv
20:30 siyum mishnayot, divrei Torah, light refreshment