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Longing For My Son

Question:

I have recently lost a son due to medical error and I am currently in therapy. I am struggling with the feelings of longing for my son and I miss so deeply, I am beside myself pretty much all the time. I am on medication )Paxil 46.7 mg and Xanax .5) My problem is that I can hardly deal with the loss and everyone tells me time is the only way. Is there any other way I can help myself, I go to weekly sessions, but I still feel horrible and dismayed at life. I want my baby. We are in the process of having his records and mine reviewed and on my records the attorney’s OB/GYN found I suffered from gestational diabetes and that my doctor failed to order an echocardiogram. My son was born with transposition of the great vessels, a defect that is brought on by gestational diabetes. We are also having my sons’ records reviewed because the hospital failed to perform a procedure called an atrial septosmy that would’ve saved his life. He was a big (almost 8lb) healthy baby other than this one defect. I am having trouble dealing with this all the way around, please any advice would be great

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Answer:

I gather that you have lost your infant, medically fragile son very recently and that you are in the early stages of the grieving process. Grieving the loss of a child is up there on the ‘most painful things that one can experience’ list. While the advice you’re getting from ‘everyone’ is more or less accurate (there is no substitute for time passing when dealing with grief) there are other things that can be done to comfort you during the worst of it. You are doing some of them; you are seeing a therapist, and you are accepting the support that anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medicines can provide. This is good. Other things you might consider doing are to see your therapist more often (if you think that might help and can afford it), to seek out support groups for grieving parents, and to enlist the ears of those people around you who can listen to what you’re experiencing and comfort you. Provided you can do so without causing too much distress, talking about your grief with understanding others generally helps the process along. You might also look into whether different rituals (religious or otherwise; performed by others or by yourself) might help ease your pain or reframe what is happening to you in a more acceptable light. Though these things may help, it is unrealistic for you to think that there is any ‘magic bullet’ out there that can take away your pain. This is going to hurt for a while. And then it will hurt less. And ultimately, it will only hurt sometimes.

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p> Part of the normal grief process is coming to grips with one’s total lack of control over important aspects of life; in your case, the death of your baby due to alleged malpractice. You may also be blaming yourself for your own medical issues that may have contributed (e.g., the gestational diabetes). It is very natural that you will be seeking out ways of reestablishing control over your life, and a lawsuit may seem like a good way to accomplish this in part. Keep in mind that there are other less contentious ways that such control issues can be worked out – for instance in therapy, or in the context of your religion if you practice one. Prosecuting a lawsuit may indeed be the thing to do here – there may have been real medical malpractice and if so – something should be done to make it less likely that such malpractice could occur again in the future. This said – if you are pursuing a lawsuit because you are seeking revenge, or even just as a symbol at some level of your ability to regain control over your life you might think about whether such actions will best serve you and your family.

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