A Deadly Decision by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche. 2023

My sorority reunion was last week in Grove, Oklahoma. Catching up is always fun, but it had been a tough year for two of the other five gals, as one is struggling to keep her business open, and two months ago, “Sharon,” our wheelchair-bound friend, had watched her husband, “Bryan,” choke to death on a piece of steak at her independent living, five-star restaurant. We knew about his death but not all of the facts surrounding his death.

The recently-hired administrator apparently had instructed all the dining personnel never to use life-saving measures.  Only the nurses on duty could do so.  The trouble was, he had fired 30 of them when he took over–in order to save money–and none were on duty.

My friend screamed for help as she watched her husband slump in his seat.  The chef was called but also refused to help. Finally, a porter ran into the restaurant and attempted to pick Bryan up under his arms, but that only caused more problems because of a recently-installed pacemaker.  Within four minutes, paramedics arrived, but it was too late.  The E.R. personnel were able to dislodge the piece of steak.

In the care facility, news spread that Sharon’s husband had suffered a heart attack.  She knew the administrator was trying to cover his hide because of his irrational policy.  Two weeks ago, a scheduled meeting was held to discuss any issues residents had.  My friend attended and asked why they weren’t telling the truth about her husband, that he had choked and not suffered cardiac arrest.  The question was avoided, but the next day, when Sharon tried to watch the YouTube recording of the event, her question had been edited out.  Apparently, residents not present at the meeting were not to know the truth.

My girlfriends and I sat stunned as we learned of the horror our friend had witnessed. She shared that since then, all restaurant personnel have had training in C.P.R. and the Heimlich.  Life-vacs have been purchased and are in each of the five dining rooms. Sharon was grateful for that.  She also has contacted an attorney about the lies being told.  We were grateful for that.

Some of you readers might have a story of someone’s incompetence (maybe even your own) that changed your life forever. The memory of it makes you shudder. The fact is, this is a fallen world.  I picture Satan celebrating when Bryan died, hoping it would destroy Sharon’s faith. It hasn’t worked.  She, a devout Christian, knowing that her husband was a Christian, has found peace, as she is confident that she someday will see him again.

Yesterday, I texted Sharon and asked how she was doing.  This was her response.  “Sometimes, I sob, but I cling to 1 Thessalonians 13,14: Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

May we all have that kind of faith.

One thought on “A Deadly Decision by Patty LaRoche”

  1. I have seen this policy in other businesses. We are a litigation oriented society and they are afraid. I have also seen business owners change the policy when they are present and helpless themselves or media gives them a black eye over policy choices. I pray she stays strong this is a rough but to crack.

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