It hurts

A 10 year old girl vomits blood and dies.

A 3 month old baby goes into convulsions and dies.

Their parents are powerless to stop their killers.

Scenes from a horror movie?

No, just the pandemic news from two days ago in El Salvador (from La Pagina). In the US, we don’t hear much about the how people die from the new H1N1 flu. Deaths are calmly announced with little information about what people went through before they died. Usually, we read something like “a 10 year old female died two weeks ago in X hospital”. However, the reports in Spanish language media are more graphic. The true horror of death by pandemic flu is readily appreciated in their stories.

In Pixie’s blog about the Connecticut “Illness and Outbreaks in the School Setting” meeting, she quoted Dr. Matt Cartter, state epidemiologist, as saying it was important to weigh decreasing “morbidity and mortality against the benefits of keeping our children in school.”

This language puts me in mind of choosing a car to buy. One “weighs” whether to get the all-wheel drive or the leather seats.

But lets’ translate Dr. Cartter’s statement into Spanish and then back into English.

“Should we send our children to schools knowing that some of them are going to die vomiting blood? Should we send our children to schools knowing that some of them are going to give the virus to their baby brothers who will die after going into convulsions? Should we send our children to schools knowing that some of them are going to give the virus to their pregnant teachers who are going get Cesearean sections while they are in comas in a desperate attempt to save their unborn children?”

How would parents “weigh” their decision if they understood the likely consequences?

Dying from swine flu hurts. It cause horrible physical pain to the person who dies. It causes horrible emotional pain to the family members who see their loved ones die.

Something we should keep in mind as we “weigh” our options.

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