Sunday, September 18, 2016

Trainwrecks online...

Yesterday, I wrote a post about a family I learned about yesterday.  The post was up for about thirty minutes or so.  Then I took it down, because I felt bad about writing it.  Twenty-four hours later, I have decided to rewrite the post.  I just feel like I have to, even if I do feel kind of bad about it.  So here goes...

There's a guy on my Facebook friends list who posted a link to a GoFundMe campaign yesterday.  I don't actually know this guy.  I think he added me because I'm friends with one of his mutual friends. We used to have one friend in common, but now I see that he's added several other exMormon Facebook friends of mine, also people I don't really know, but kind of enjoy following.

Anyway, I noticed the GoFundMe pitch on this guy's page.  He has a married nephew who lost his three month old infant son in a freak accident on Friday.  The family is very obviously Mormon.  Until Friday, they had eight living kids, several of whom have names that only very devout Mormons would bestow upon their offspring.  The baby who died was named Kolob.

I noticed that my Facebook friend had posted the GoFundMe page, but so had the baby's parents.  They share a Facebook account.  The mother, who writes a blog, also has a Facebook page for her blog.  With eight kids, I'm sure finances are stretched tight and the parents said they needed help with the burial expenses.

I was curious about the family, so I navigated to the mother's blog, which has only been in existence since August.  There are several posts.  The first one I read was about how amazing the infant son was.  It was posted before his tragic accident.  It seems the baby was born a month prematurely and had spent some time in the NICU before coming home to live with his family for a summer.  The boy's mother wrote that her son had fought to get well.

The next post, which is the one she most recently wrote, was posted yesterday.  It was about her baby's death.  When I discovered that post, I realized that the baby hadn't even been dead for twelve hours.  People process things differently; I know I need to write when there's something on my mind.  Still, it seemed really strange to me that this mother had taken to her blog to write about her dead baby so soon after it happened.

So I kept reading.  I discovered that this family has struggled with a lot of problems.  One son has autism.  A daughter broke her neck, though was apparently able to recover.  Another daughter had a broken leg as an infant.  Another son had "brain issues" before he was born.  The baby who died had been given a bottle and placed on a blanket while Mom went to cook dinner.  He apparently aspirated some fluid and was discovered by his dad and sister about fifteen minutes later, blue and unresponsive.

Having not had children myself or been around a lot of very young infants, I asked some of my friends who are mothers if it was common for parents to put their babies on a blanket and leave them there.  They all said it was, although it sounded to me like this mom left her baby alone in a room while she was cooking.  Given that he was a preemie and had other young siblings, one of whom has autism, it seemed to me that this mother should have had the baby within eyeshot.  And maybe she did.  The details or what actually happened are fairly sketchy.  But then, if the baby had been within her line of sight, perhaps she would have noticed he was in distress.

I happen to have a background in child welfare.  I studied social work and public health and have worked as a social worker.  If I were still practicing, I probably would be calling child protective services and asking them to check on this family.  However, given the many strange medical dramas this family has faced, my guess is that someone has already called about them.

I realize this family has suffered a tremendous loss and I want to give them the benefit of the doubt...  however, the mother's blog raises a number of red flags.  At the very least, it shows that the woman has poor judgment.  I'm sorry if my comments about this are in poor taste or come off as judgmental, but I truly think this family has got some pretty major issues.  I felt like I needed to write about it because it's profoundly sad as well as very strange.

I probably need to cull my friends list, too...


  1. I've been told by my superiors that if I have knowledge of a baby being left unsupervised (i.e. out of an adult's line of vision) where other children who are too young to know any better are around to potentially harm the child, I should counsel with the parent, then gauge the response and go with my gut instinct. If I feel that I'm not being taken 100% seriously, it should be reported to the authorities, who in all likelihood will do nothing (not because they're bad people but because they have step-parents sitting on children until they can't breathe and parents locking children into cages; they have to prioritize), but I will have done my duty. The doctors telling me this meant primarily when I'm not a med student; I still should ask questions and provide counsel even as a med student, but then I alert my superiors, who make the real call. A three-year-old can unintentionally kill a baby in less than the amount of time it takes for water to boil. An older autistic kid could do so even faster.

    My Uncle Scott said Munchausen by Proxy immediately came to mind when I told him of this.

    Where is the church in all of this? If the people are tithe-payers (and if they are not, I give them credit for having more brains than I previously thought) why shouldn't the mega-wealthy LDS church help fund the burial costs? LDS Inc. doesn't like cremation because it will make the ressurection much more complicated. If such is the case, why not help the poor family out and prevent them from having to resort to the less-expensive option of cremation instead of burial. (I want to be cremated anyway, expense notwithstanding.)

    This woman is crying out for attention.

    1. She has now opened up her Facebook group with news about the baby's funeral, articles about Kolob (the star), and pictures of her husband. It's like the baby's death has turned her into a celebrity.

  2. Something's not right. Do you have a link to the journal? I found the FB page with your link.

  3. Was the link in a Twiter PM or DM or whatever they're called there?


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