Who is to blame for any tragedy?

Who is to blame for any tragedy? 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

I rarely claim Florida as home – but this week, I wear my Sunshine State flag with pride. My family is there. My brother and sister in law, often visit dine and enjoy what Orlando, Tampa and Miami nightlife have to offer. 

My high-school friends are there – and many, I am confident, have been to Pulse. My niece is growing up there, and though only six months old, will hear stories of this horrible event that occurred so close to home. 

Does blame help? Maybe. But when people ask why something horrific happens, we are often looking for a cause. Someone, some policy, some idea to blame. But at the root of our desire to blame, is really a fundamental belief or hope in accountability and change. 

If we can find the holes in the system, better equip our intelligence community, mental health system, tighten gun laws, etc. can we effectuate change to prevent it from happening again? I sure hope so. I would hate to believe that mass shootings are simply the cost of living a public life in America in 2016. That when we buy tickets to a movie, or go to dinner, or worship in a public place, or gather as a community –  we are knowingly risking the safety of our families and loved ones simply to live together. 

And let me add, I am in NO WAY COMPARING the horrific murder of 49 human beings, to neglect or mistakes that cause harm to patients in our healthcare system. I see only one similarity, and that is our fundamental and innate hope for change and accountability after a tragedy. 

  • If we file a lawsuit when a surgeon performs a surgery he wasn’t adequately trained to handle, we do so hoping for change and accountability.
  • When an OB/GYN doesn’t order necessary tests to determine the viability of a fetus, and a mother waits patiently in the hospital while her child slowly dies in her womb, we file suit, hoping for accountability and change.
  • When a nursing home knowingly hires fewer nurses to maximize profits but patients get injured, we file a lawsuit desiring hope and change.
  • When a resident who is inadequately supervised injures a patient during a hernia repair, puncturing the bowel or causing internal bleeding, we file suit trying to change the system that allowed this young doctor in training, to operate alone. 
  • When medications are mismanaged, and a patient is giving a life altering drug despite a known allergy, we hope that the process of accountability in our justice system. will transform future actions. 

 Maybe you get my point. Whether a life is taken or permanently damaged on purpose or accident, the suffering is real, the pain un-ending, and we as a community seek ways to prevent the loss from repeating itself.

That is what our civil justice system is designed to do. That is why we live with and in a system of laws. Because we hope for change and accountability. 


About the author

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.

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