Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Carol Gotbaum's death could have been prevented

I know this entry is a diversion from my original theme of achieving a sober mind, but the issue I'd like to address is very important to raising awareness for both those of us who suffer from addiction, and those who do not.

After reading an online editorial in “The Arizona Republic” regarding Carol Gotbaum, the woman who died while in custody at the Phoenix airport, I was outraged. Since the news broke there has been a glut of negative reactions and comments about her and her family’s behavior, and it seems there are some trying to justify the actions of the airport police. They have raised issues such as why she was traveling alone if she was ill, and whether alcohol and/or drugs played a role in her death. The most recent article I read states police followed procedures and she died in spite of their efforts. The Arizona Republic editorial stated that police had saved a life the day before and the day after the Carol Gotbaum incident. The editorial did not supply the details of the two heroic rescues. Unfortunately in the case of Carol Gotbaum it resulted in her death.

What the editorial did not say was whether the procedure they followed in order to save those other two lives included taking them into custody and then leaving them alone, shackled in a cell, instead of calling for emergency medical assistance. I am confident that if they had, the rescued would have been three for three and Carol Gotbaum would still be alive.

If you want to read more about my thoughts on how this incident was mishandled, I wrote the following op ed which was published in the Long Island Newsday on 11/19/07: 'Sick' mom's death shows alcoholics' need for aid

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