So, I wanted to parlay a story that I read in today’s addition of the Explore Howard. See here for the actual story.
So, let me take you back to 2007. Kirk Mercer was driving home from work on the Baltimore beltway, like hundreds of people in this area do everyday. Coming from Liberty Road, he interacted with Michele Bosley who was driving at 60 mph, and passed out behind the wheel of her car. They crashed and Mercer was killed. Bosley’s sodium level had dropped to dangerous levels due to an anti-epilepsy drug she was taking to prevent seizures and that’s why she passed out.
Today, Bosley was sentenced to 10 months home detention, 5 years probation, and a 10 year suspended prison sentence. However, the judge in the case said that if she ever gets behind the wheel of a car again he’ll throw her into jail faster than she can start the engine.
I was conflicted when I read this article. Why you ask? Is it a tragedy? Absolutely. Is it terrible that Mercer’s children will never get to experience their father first hand in their adult years? Yes. Could it have been prevented?
As much as I’m a firm believer that any disability should not prevent you from the daily goings on of your life or what you want to accomplish, I know that I was taught the day that I started having problems with my health that to a certain extent you have to know when to say when. It’s a horrific loss of independence, but you think you might have seizures, you don’t drive. But, to play devils advocate here…they didn’t go into this in the story but it made me wonder.
Was she 1 year seizure free? 5? 10? 6 months? If she was seizure free, it would lead me to assume as a patient that I was okay to drive. It’s like taking medication. If you’ve been on narcotics forever for chronic pain, driving won’t be an issue, right? Or maybe it will. That’s the thing. Medication, not unlike most things is only as good for the person after trial and error. If there wasn’t therapeutic drug monitoring, people like me wouldn’t be employable. But, here’s the thing about this.
I feel like to a certain extent I take an additional burden on by being disabled and a science PhD student. It’s as if I’m not only getting my PhD for myself and my career, but for the disabled community. That somehow we can “do it”. I know it seems silly when it comes out here written all out like that, but cmon. How many disabled professors have you seen on college campuses? Not many right? So when this article came up today, it left me conflicted for a couple reasons.
1. I feel like to a certain extent, I don’t have a disability that will put another person in bodily harm. Now, if you’re walking in front of me down the stairs and I trip and fall down the stairs….yes I’m taking you with me. However, I will admit even myself there have been times that I have been in unrelenting pain while driving and there’s not a dang on thing I can do except scream and scream because I’m in the 3rd lane and out of four you don’t want to pull over on the shoulder of the fast lane and changing lanes twice just seems like something to concentrate on other than driving and not killing anyone.
2. In the law, I wonder if there are clauses of blame without neglect. Meaning, yes this person did something. But, was it true neglect? She was taking her medication regularly. The medication was the problem. How could one judge tell one person that they are truly responsible after that?
3. If I had sat in that womans shoes, I don’t think I could ever live with myself. Now, this isn’t something like the tragedy of last summer it’s different. That was with blame.
So, I am curious. Is the woman at fault? Should she go on disability and not work? Find another way to work? She’s being a productive part of society and something tragic has happened.
Meanwhile, I must add a quick recommendation here to the ladies of Shapely Prose some resourceful women that linked the great piece I saw in Jezebel the other day about dressing your shape. Bravo ladies for good work out of Chicagoland my home away from home.
Speaking of Chicagoland, go check out Ask Men.com’s Top 29 places to live. It will give you some good insight ladies.