If Folole Muliaga died so shortly after the power to her home was cut… why wasn’t she more prepared? Power cuts are common. If the facts as the media are presenting them are correct, a car hitting a powerpole down the street or a fault at a substation could have killed her at any time.
Furthermore, if you do subject yourself to this level of dependence on the power grid, why sit waiting for four warning notices and six weeks to elapse and do nothing? Not arrange with your respiratory nurse for a portable O2 bottle, not arrange for a transport to hospital, not call an ambulance when the contractor turns up and tells you they’re going to shut off the power.
Mercury Energy may certainly have some culpability, but it seems like there’s something we’re not being told. For a person to let their very survival rely completely, 100% on an unreliable system which is out of their control, and to ignore several warnings about its impending disconnection yet failing to enact any one of several easy remedies to the situation?
All good questions that I don't think have been adequately addressed. What we do know is that Folole Muliaga wasn't completely, 100% reliant upon the oxygen machine. It was not "a full breathing machine," notes David Farrar, "where death is automatic if it stops. The machine was for people with a chronic, mildly reduced level of oxygen in their blood, typically those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder." That said, she received the machine on May 11, she needed it, and the Muliagas were presumably already behind in their bills at that stage, yet they proceeded to rely on power always being there -- just as if, in their minds, the unpaid bills and the supply of power were unconnected. That's a clue right there, isn't it?
If you were on a home oxygen machine, don't you think you would put the electricity bill ahead of ALL the other bills? Or if you were a family member don't you think you would have helped and made sure it was paid? Or run to Social Welfare and get assistance like they are MEANT to be there for...real emergency matters of welfare. It is a horrible story but it really hits deep into the league of can lead a horse to water.....but you can't help people who don't help themselves. Or get off their arse and call for a fucking ambulance when the power was cut off?Nope, with Middlemore Hospital just down the road, with unpaid power bills all around them and the alarm for their mother's oxygen machine loudly playing a tune, they apparently all sat around and sang a song. I find that just impossible to understand. Perhaps you could explain it to me.
UPDATE 1: I've heard people arguing there are "cultural" reasons for what this family did (and Falu. On that, I can only quote Thomas Sowell on that and invite you to reflect upon it:
Cultures are not museum pieces, they are the working machinery of everyday life, and we should judge them by how well they work for those within them.Think about that. If reports are true, it has rarely been so starkly illustrated.
UPDATE 2: I say that not all questions have been answered, which is true, but I should give credit to this morning's coverage in the hard copy of the Herald [some of which appears here], which seems to have answered all the questions that it's possible to answer at this stage. Kudos to the Herald for that. (The coverage is so good that all copies were sold out at the three outlets I visited this morning. I was forced to buy a coffee to catch up).
It's worth noting that none of the people describing the events publicly were there at the time, and that the family spokesman who has described them is described as "a union organiser" -- so expect some (quite understandable) hyperbole. And this too seems worth noting:
Folole Muliaga was seriously ill from heart and lung disease, but her hospital doctors are surprised she died "so soon" after her oxygen machine stopped providing the life-giving gas. The 44-year-old died about 2 1/2 hours after the mains-powered machine, supplied by the Counties Manukau District Health Board, stopped working about 11am on Tuesday.Now ain't that the truth.
Medical experts said yesterday that home-oxygen machines were given only to patients with chronic conditions. They were not aware that any of the machines had battery back-ups. "It's not a life-critical thing as a rule," said the health board's chief medical officer, Dr Don Mackie. "There are things about this case that we don't understand," he said.