Showing posts with label Death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Death. Show all posts

November 4, 2019

{Chapter 3, He Came Out Too Soon} "UNPLUG at Barnabas"

St. Barnabas Hospital is the subject of a lawsuit in a case of mistaken identity.
 CNN Picture: Mistaken Identity at Barnabas Hospital

 By Joe Sexton and Nate Schweber

“He Came Out Too Soon”

LATANYA WAS still frozen behind the wheel of her car when family members found her on the highway outside of San Antonio.

“She just couldn’t move,” Leah, one of her daughters, said.
Leah and other family members, in shock themselves at the news of Raheme’s death, eventually got LaTanya back home and then onto a plane to New York the next day. After landing at LaGuardia Airport, LaTanya made her way to the medical examiner’s office in Queens. She was seated in an office, and a photograph of the body that had come from St. Barnabas was called up on a computer screen.

LaTanya had turned her back to the computer at first but then spun around to look.
“My husband,” she said. “No mistake.”

There was another shock to come.

The medical examiner’s office had made a second discovery in examining the body. While Perry had been brought to St. Barnabas after a likely drug overdose, that is not what killed him. Under cause of death, the medical examiner listed “blunt impact of head.”

“Fell and struck head while being chased by group of people,” the initial death certificate said.
The case was a homicide.

For LaTanya, it was one more jarring development in a deepening nightmare.
Over the next year, LaTanya struggled to piece together what happened to her husband — in the streets of the Bronx, as well as at the hospital where he was taken. And how, exactly, he had come to have another man’s identification.

She pulled together police and hospital records, talked with detectives, compared notes with reporters, even hit the streets trying to find people who might have been witness to what went down at East 174th Street and Bryant Avenue just before midnight on July 13, 2018.

The facts and timeline she assembled look like this:
On the night of July 13, police records show that an officer and a supervising sergeant, upon arriving at East 174th Street and Bryant Avenue, had found what they estimated to be a 40-year-old man unresponsive on the pavement. They administered a nasal spray meant to reverse the effects of a drug overdose to the unconscious man and performed CPR.
“Got a pulse,” the records say.
A New York Fire Department ambulance soon arrived. The EMS personnel’s notes offer greater detail. They show that bystanders had said the unconscious man “was running when he twisted his ankle, tripped/fell and stopped moving.”
The notes list bruising to the side of the face and bleeding from the back of the head. The Fire Department records also confirm that the unconscious male was carrying a legitimate ID: a state-issued non-driver’s license. It had the name Frederick Williams and a number: 00685520.
The man carrying Williams’ ID was then taken to St. Barnabas.
The hospital records obtained by LaTanya, reflecting daily updates on the patient’s status over the next two weeks, contain a mix of information about the unconscious man thought to be Williams, some of it conflicting. One record has an entry called “Problem list.”
“Admitted under the impression cardiac arrest related to drug overdose,” is one problem. There are others: “traumatic injury”; “acute kidney injury”; “sudden collapse while running.”

The records show cocaine and tranquilizers were found in the patient’s system, but another note says that he’d been using cocaine and heroin, and that he’d suffered “respiratory failure due to opioid overdose.” The records include an entry noting “no traumatic injury,” only to later list abrasions to the “right eyebrow, right upper cheek, right shoulder and both wrists,” and “trauma to the head.”
“Per EMS and bystander, patient was running and fell — cracked his neck,” reads one entry.
“Witnessed to run into pole, fall over, pass out,” reads another.

In an interview, Glenmoore Reid, a superintendent at an apartment building near the Bronx intersection, said Perry had indeed fallen, but he had done so while being chased by three men. Something had happened between the men down the block, Reid said, and Perry had taken flight. He briefly hid out in a building, but emerged only to be chased again.
“He came out too soon,” Reid said.

Then, Reid said, Perry’s leg had buckled. He’d fallen and maybe hit his head. The men, thinking he was faking, shook Perry, but then took off. Reid said a security camera on his building had captured the encounter, and he’d given it to the police.

The New York Police Department would not discuss what it describes as an open homicide investigation involving the death of Perry. It would not say when it began, who has been spoken to, what evidence might exist. Brian Hernandez, a detective on the case, would not comment when approached at the 42nd Precinct in the Bronx.

LaTanya said she had spoken to the detective in recent months and came away thinking any arrests were a long shot. She said Hernandez told her that the police had reviewed the videotape of Perry and the men chasing him, but that it does not capture anyone actually laying their hands on her husband.
She said the police told her they believed that Perry had stolen papers belonging to Williams, and that they had recovered mail belonging to Williams in Perry’s possession. But they offered no clues about where, how or why the papers had been stolen.

LaTanya said she had walked the streets of the Bronx in the weeks after Raheme’s death, and found witnesses who described Raheme being chased and then thrown to the ground — body-slammed, she said. He staggered to his feet, but collapsed. She does not know if the police have spoken with those people.

Among the many things LaTanya is haunted by is this:

A detective at the 42nd Precinct told her he had gone to St. Barnabas shortly after the man on the street had been taken there. He was supposed to check up on the patient, and maybe get more information about the incident. The detective was told the man was in no shape to talk and was turned away.

The officer told LaTanya he knew Raheme. He’d arrested him before. He might have recognized him, he told LaTanya, if he’d been allowed to see him.

November 1, 2019

UnPlug at Barnabas in NY

{Chapter One}

                          Image result for A man about to be unplug on ICU b

{{From The Street to ICU at Barnabas Hospital, NY., NY}}

By Joe Sexton and Nate Schweber

THE NECK BRACE held the unconscious man’s head at a 30-degree angle. The patient’s face — scraped and bruised — was largely covered with a plastic rig holding a breathing tube. Every two hours, hospital staff administered artificial tears.

Shortly before midnight on July 13, 2018, police and hospital records show, the victim of a suspected drug overdose had arrived by ambulance at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. Officers responding to a 911 call had found the man on the ground at the corner of East 174th Street and Bryant Avenue. CPR administered by the officers had managed to produce a pulse. A breathing tube had been inserted on the way to the hospital.

The man was identified as Frederick Williams, born Feb. 18, 1978, police records show. The hospital looked up the name. Williams had been a patient at the hospital before. His files listed emergency contact.

Ralph Williams was the first relative to arrive at the hospital. He didn’t live far away.
“I can jump on the 15 bus and be there in five, 10 minutes,” he said in an interview.
Frederick was Ralph’s adopted younger brother, joining the Williams family as a baby. His parents had been drug addicts at the time of his birth. 
“Freddy was always into something,” Ralph said. “But he was a good kid.”
It pained Ralph, then, to see Frederick struggle as he grew up — at school, with drugs and alcohol, with the loss of his adoptive mother when he was 18. Ralph had last seen Frederick a couple of years earlier when his brother was in drug rehab in Harlem.

At the hospital, Ralph made his way to the intensive care unit. Ralph said the hospital staff only told him that his brother had been found on the street. Frederick was not responding to treatment. Drugs had been found in his system. The prognosis was grim.

Over the next several days, more family members came to St. Barnabas. One of Williams’ two daughters, who had been raised by their mother in Virginia, soon arrived. She kissed the patient’s hand before she left. A sister drove up from North Carolina and spent an entire night bedside. She rubbed the patient’s feet and ran her hand through his hair.

Hospital staff began a conversation with the family about ending life support. “Topics covered,” read a July 23 note in the medical file. “Prognosis. End of life wishes. Emotional stress. Spiritual support.”
The next day, the records say, Williams was moved to a hospice within the facility. The 18-bed unit is run by St. Barnabas in partnership with Hospice of New York. Williams had no formal health care proxy, no designated person to make decisions about his care. He was assigned a bed in a private room.

The family soon came to an agreement, and July 29 was set as the date for the removal of the respirator, a procedure known as extubation.
Ralph was there shortly after noon on July 29. Two of Frederick’s sisters were there too. It took only about five minutes without the respirator for the man to die, Ralph said.

“We were crying,” Ralph remembered. “We prayed and everything. After they pulled the breathing apparatus and all that out, he tried to stay for a little while, but he was gone. That was it.”
Except it wasn’t. The patient they’d just had taken off life support was not Frederick Williams.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power

Hello, This is Adam. This story continues and more details that will be given to you will fill the skeleton of a life who was never completely alive as some might judge. I don't judge But I'm glad I am able to present to you this life story. This is not a novel but a true story happening as per chapter one at Barnabas Hospital in New York City.

October 30, 2019

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi May Be is No More But What Happens Now

In Iraq and Syria, news of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death has stirred a mix of responses — from joy to disbelief to dread.

Since President Trump announced this weekend that Baghdadi died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, analysts have been grappling with the implications for the militant organization that has now lost its main chief in addition to all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria. 

But in the lands that were under ISIS rule, conspiracy theories are swirling. While many are happy that the man behind much suffering is dead, residents are questioning the details the U.S. has offered about Baghdadi's demise and whether he died at all. Some even wonder if he ever existed, suggesting how deep distrust of the U.S. government may run in this part of the world.

"First [President George W.] Bush came and said he killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, then [President Barack] Obama came and he said he killed [Osama] bin Laden, now this one comes saying he killed Baghdadi. Every president kills one," says Zekko Zuhair, a pet store owner in Mosul, Iraq.

People walk near Mosul's heavily damaged Al-Nuri Mosque. Baghdadi used the site in 2014 to announce the launch of a caliphate. 
Zaid al-Obeidi/AFP via Getty Images

Mosul is where, in 2014, the ISIS leader declared himself "caliph," claiming to be a successor to a historical Muslim figure. Baghdadi later went into hiding, while ISIS went on a rampage across Iraq and Syria, imposing its extreme interpretation of Islamic law, recruiting members from around the world to help slaughter civilians, soldiers, and rival militants; take hostages for ransom; and women and girls as sex slaves. 
Much of Mosul is still recovering from ISIS' three-year reign, and from the destruction left by U.S.-backed forces battling the militants. Many families have relatives who were killed either by ISIS fighters or during the fierce fighting against them.

Mahmoud Saeed, a local imam, says he recalls the day Baghdadi came to the city surrounded by bodyguards and declared the start of the caliphate from the pulpit of al-Nuri Mosque.

Ruins where Baghdadi declared the caliphate six years ago. ISIS blew up the mosque in the battle for Mosul before it was driven out of the area in 2017.
Jane Arraf/NPR
"We did not choose him," Saeed says.

Still, even after news of his death, Saeed and friends have been discussing whether Baghdadi was really invented by the U.S.

'The Old City Will Come Back Better': Residents Of Mosul Return And Rebuild 
'The Old City Will Come Back Better': Residents Of Mosul Return And Rebuild
When asked who the man really was, Saeed says: "We don't know — ask America. Ask Donald Trump."

Mosul resident Marwa Khaled is with her 5-year-old son Mohaiman, who's holding a plastic toy rifle almost as big as he is. Mohaiman never met his father, a police officer who was killed by ISIS.

"I'm happy but I'm not sure about the news," Khaled says. "We didn't see a body, we didn't see anything." 
President Trump announced on Sunday Baghdadi had died during a U.S. military operation in northwest Syria the night before.
According to Trump, as U.S. special forces attacked the compound where Baghdadi was hiding out, the ISIS leader ran into a dead-end tunnel and detonated a suicide vest that killed him and three children.

Trump said he is considering making some of the footage of the raid public "so that [Baghdadi's] followers and all of these young kids that want to leave various countries, including the United States, they should see how he died. He didn't die a hero. He died a coward."

In spite of Trump's claims of victory over ISIS, Baghdadi's death does not represent the end of the group, says Mansour Marid, the governor of Nineveh, Iraq.

"This is only one page of the situation, and we presume there is another page to it," says Marid. "The important thing is to end the ideology, otherwise with these kinds of men, one leader goes, another will come in his place." 
Next door in Syria, many residents who spent years under ISIS rule say they're thrilled Baghdadi is dead.

"It's very happy news ... because it feels like he's a personal enemy," says Mohammed Kheder, who leads a group of Syrian researchers documenting ISIS atrocities called Sound and Picture. "ISIS committed numerous crimes against our sons. ... The person responsible for the death of their sons has died." 

Kheder adds that families feel like "they have gotten their revenge, even if it's from someone who's also responsible for many deaths of their sons." The someone he's referring to is the U.S.-led coalition that defeated ISIS but used overwhelming firepower, which rights groups say killed many more civilians than it did ISIS fighters. "People believe one criminal killed another criminal," he says.

This attitude doesn't surprise Jeremy Shapiro, who worked on Syria policy at the State Department under the Obama administration. "People in that area are pretty jaded about the United States. The fact that they are not sad that Baghdadi is dead isn't going to change their opinion of us," Shapiro says.

In March, U.S.-led forces drove ISIS fighters out of their last held territory in Syria. Now thousands of suspected ISIS fighters are in prisons in the country and their wives and children are in detention camps. The facilities are run by Syrian Kurdish forces, who have come under heavy attack by Turkey, following President Trump's order for U.S. troops to withdraw from parts of Syria.

A woman walks with children at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp where families of ISIS foreign fighters are held in northeastern Syria on Oct. 17.
NPR contacted a Syrian humanitarian worker who is in touch with detainees in al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria to hear what they are saying about Baghdadi's death. He called them on their smuggled cellphones and provided recordings of some detainees.

"We are all soldiers of Baghdadi ... but the jihad hasn't stopped," says one of the women, an Iraqi. "And there's nothing to prove he died. We heard in the news. It's been a rumor numerous times. As warriors, we believe that even if Baghdadi dies, the caliphate will not end. ... We aren't just here for one person."

Analysis: The End Of The 'Caliphate' Doesn't Mean The End Of ISIS

Analysis: The End Of The 'Caliphate' Doesn't Mean The End Of ISIS
"If Baghdadi is dead, there are tens of thousands of Baghdadis," says another detainee, speaking in French. "Do not think we are over. We are like a boiling volcano in constant eruption."

Some of the women in the camps say they regret joining ISIS. One Tunisian woman sends texts saying she is relieved Baghdadi is dead. "He will be rewarded with hell," she says.

But she and some of the other women detained with her do not trust President Trump's account that Baghdadi died in a cowardly way, she says. "Nobody believes Trump's tales."

Fatma Tanis and Jane Arraf reported in Mosul, Iraq; Daniel Estrin and Lama al-Arian reported in Beirut, Lebanon; and Alex Leff contributed from Washington, D.C.  

A worker in Mosul, Iraq, assesses the damage in the al-Nuri Mosque compound. Workers are reconstructing the mosque's al-Hadba minaret.
Add caption 
 Iraqi youth watch the news of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death, in Najaf, Iraq, on Sunday.
Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

September 30, 2019

To Get Use to Our Death Its Healthy / Would You Accept Your Relatives Stay in Your House After Passing Like in Indonesia?

Editor's note: This story contains images that some readers may find disturbing.
As a host, 90-year-old Alfrida Lantong is somewhat passive. Lying resolutely on her back and gazing up through a pair of thick, dusty spectacles, she roundly ignores her son's murmured greeting as he enters the room and pays little heed to the gaggle of grandchildren clustered around her.
But Alfrida can hardly be blamed for her unresponsiveness. After all, she has been dead for the last seven years.

Alfrida is of the Toraja people of southern Sulawesi in Indonesia, for whom the line between life and death is not black and white. Though her heart stopped beating in 2012, as far as her family is concerned, she is only to macula, which translates loosely as "sick." They still visit her regularly, talk to her and bring her three meals a day, which they leave on the floor.
After saying goodbye, Alfrida's son, Mesak, covers her with a light veil and closes the lid of her coffin before exiting the room. He will visit her again at supper time. "We would miss her if she didn't still live here," says the 47-year-old. "She looked after us our whole lives, so now it is important that we look after her too."

Beyond her silent companionship, one of the reasons Alfrida still lives with her family is that even after seven years, preparations for her funeral are not yet complete. In Torajan culture, a person's funeral is the most important day of his or her life. Funerals can be so expensive that successive generations will be saddled with crippling debt. The events can last a week and involve the slaughter of hundreds of livestock.
"We need more time to save," says Mesak, whose family belongs to what he calls the "noble" class in the stratified Torajan caste system. "The community would not respect us if we did a small funeral. We must sacrifice many buffalo."
Toraja country stretches for hundreds of miles across the mountainous interior of Sulawesi, a land of verdant hills and scattered villages connected by a network of dirt tracks that wind their way through lush rice paddies and patches of thick forest. It is an enclave of Christianity in a predominantly Muslim country, although traditional beliefs remain prevalent. Especially when it comes to death.
Throughout most of the world, death is a topic that generally inspires dread. It marks the sudden and irreversible rupture of a person from their loved ones. Even if one believes in an afterlife, the immediate severing of the connection between the dead and the living is absolute. When anthropomorphized in popular culture, death is often depicted as a malevolent entity, the sinister black-cloaked figure clutching a scythe.
Not so in Tana Toraja, the land where the Torajans live. Here, death is not something to shy away from. It is an all-pervading presence in day-to-day life, inscribed into the landscape in eerie wooden tau-tau statues, commissioned by the bereaved to remember the dead, and into the social calendar, which revolves heavily around funerals.
Death is even central to the economy: Families often save for years so they can afford the elaborate exchanges of gifts, money and freshly slaughtered meat that take place during the events, which are seen as a key means of redistributing wealth in Torajan society.
Death provides livelihoods for thousands of people here, both in the tourism sector and in funeral-related businesses. That includes the farmhands who look after the exorbitantly expensive sacrificial buffaloes, the restaurants and hotels springing up in the town of Rantepao and the artisans who craft the wooden tau-tau statues that adorn graves.
These statues — which range in appearance from highly stylized to disconcertingly lifelike — are a prominent feature of the caves, outcrops and escarpments that dot the countryside. For Jeffrey Maguling, a young tau-tau carver whose family has been in the business for four generations, the statues are an art form as well as a source of income.
"I don't just copy photos of the dead person," says Maguling, who works from a small wooden shack by the roadside south of Rantepao. "I try to capture the person's character. It takes me about 10 days to make one." And he can sell a statue for about 15 million rupiah, or $1,100.
"There's more demand than in my father's time," he adds. "The population has grown, so there are more people dying. It makes me happy when my clients like the tau-tau. But I will always share their sadness."
It's not that Torajans don't mourn their loved ones. But the process is softened by the gradual — and never-ending — nature of the transition from one world to another in Torajan cosmology. Even after people are buried, they are not really gone. Their tau-tau statues continue to stand tall on their cliff-top perches, eternally surveying the bustling land of the living below.
In some communities, to show respect, the dead are exhumed every few years and dressed in fresh clothes, often with a new pair of sunglasses, as if their pride over their appearance had not expired with their bodies.
And when a baby dies, the body is sometimes buried in a hole carved out of the trunk of a tree so that the two may live on and grow together.

In a village near Alfrida Lantong's home, set on a steep hillside above a sea of brilliant apple-green paddies, another Torajan family is making last-minute preparations for its big day. The "sick" man, Lucas Ruruk, was a farmer from one of the middle social classes. His funeral will be of average size by Torajan standards. Yet the family is still expecting 5,000 guests and estimates that the event, which will last several days, will cost roughly 250 million rupiah (around $18,000). That's roughly five times the average yearly income in Indonesia.

"We're sad about the funeral," says Ruruk's 28-year-old son, Izak Sapan. "But it is the most important day in my father's life. It is when his soul will make the journey to heaven."
His father lies upstairs in his bedroom, dressed immaculately in a dark suit and tie and a white shirt with floral designs on the collar. He died the previous month and has been lying here receiving visitors ever since. Shortly after death, his body was injected with a formaldehyde solution to prevent it from decomposing, as is the local custom.

The next morning, Ruruk's home is a scene of pandemonium. Trussed-up pigs are carried in squealing on bamboo stretchers while vendors set up stalls by the entrance selling soft drinks, snacks and cigarettes to the arriving guests. As the event gets underway, buffaloes are led out to have their throats slit in front of a transfixed crowd. A DJ plays local ballads, and a group of women performs traditional dances as the ground slowly turns scarlet with blood. A video crew hired by the family records the scene.

So too do approximately 100 tourists, both local and international, clutching cameras as they trail behind their guides. The idea of tourists traveling hundreds of miles to attend a stranger's funeral may seem somewhat jarring. But on the whole, their presence is welcomed by Torajan families, who believe that a well-attended funeral bestows honor on the deceased.
"We are happy that many foreigners have come," says the dead man's nephew, Suande. "It means we can share our sadness with many people, and it shows respect for my uncle."
The area has become one of the biggest tourist destinations on the island of Sulawesi. August is a particularly busy time for local guesthouses, with a surge of tourists turning up to watch the manene event, during which bodies are removed from their graves, redressed in fresh clothes and sometimes carried around the village before being laid back to rest for another few years.
On a recent Monday, tourists streamed like ants up and down a steep track clinging to the side of a cliff in the village of Kete Kesu, where hundreds of bodies are buried. They ogled the piles of skulls and bones that lay in hollowed-out tree trunks along the route and used their cellphones to light up the inside of burial caves. Some posed for photos beside the remains, unsure whether to smile or look serious.
Back in Alfrida Lantong's household, the endless saving continues. Her son estimates that the event will cost over a billion rupiah (about $73,800).
"But we don't even think about the cost," Mesak, her son, says. "She will be traveling to the realm of the soul, and we must send her off in our own way. It is our Torajan culture. It is what we do."

Tommy Trenchard and Aurélie Marrier d'Unienville are independent photojournalists based in Cape Town, South Africa. They have previously collaborated on projects ranging from conservation gone wrong in Uganda to the changing lives of Indonesia's sea nomads to the fight against ISIS in Iraq. 

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