Davey Paul Deserved Better

Eleanor Roosevelt said that you have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.

Heidi Paul, mother of brain-damaged eight-year-old Davey Paul, defines the ability to do that important thing. When Davey was just a couple of months shy of his third birthday, he went to the Dr. Georges Dumont Hospital for dental surgery on Aug. 2, 2002. The surgery was done under general anesthesia but something went wrong. He was deprived of oxygen and has never been the same again.

He is in a wheelchair and must be fed and changed. He can't communicate.

Heidi has met this change in her life and her son's life with amazing courage.

"Our world changed that day and our lives will never be the same," she says. "But he's not going to a home. We'd never do that. I'm not giving up my son."

Heidi's courage notwithstanding, the tremendous burden she and her family suffered has been made worse by the refusal of people to accept responsibility for wrong-doing in this matter.

Late last week, Heidi's family received a multi-million dollar settlement to help care for Davey for the rest of his life. While we are pleased that the settlement will help the family care for Davey, it is a shame it took the lawyers and insurance companies five years to come to a settlement, and that they did so only on the eve of the trial.

This entire case has been trying for all involved and has not been handled well. The person who deserves our respect, besides the long-caring family, is dentist Dr. Anil Joshi. To his credit, even though by all reports he was not at fault in the incident and was simply present to perform the dental work on Davey, his insurance company offered some money to cover the child's immediate needs, as a gesture of good faith.

The settlement lays the bulk of the blame at the feet of the anesthesiologist Dr. Amr Mahmoud and the Beausejour Regional Health Authority itself.

We are not impressed that their insurance companies and lawyers delayed reaching the settlement, putting this poor family through five agonizing years of poverty, before doing the right thing.

Horrible things can happen, but when problems occur, the responsible thing for those who take an oath to do no harm is to work towards responsible follow-up actions. This excruciating delay and the impact it took on the Paul family does not reflect well on the caring reputation of the health authority.