I am wiped out, people. Unexpectedly, I was listed as a "person with special interest" at the Inquests, and granted permission to speak, and question the witnesses. They combined the 2 Inquests, and with no papers or copies of statements, and with the most delightful lawyer lady sitting next to me writing more questions I needed to ask, I was back in the "seat", so to speak.
The focus and concentration necessary when you are well prepared is one thing. Flying by the seat of your pants and coming up with really telling questions while making notes, and listening to all the evidence is totally another. Remember the inability to focus I have developed with the CRPS? Yes. Well. It was a bit of a challenge, but then indignation and fury can drive you to superhuman levels at times. And I was given a great deal of leeway by the Coroner. The barrister leading the huge hospital team did everything right with great deference. Me? Hahaha. "Any questions, Mrs L?? Yes, you will have questions", said the Coroner. "Oh yes, I have questions". And I did. Many.
Semantics. Was the print on the instruction papers large enough. Oh give me strength. Get glasses. Just an example. However, in the end, a narrative verdict was delivered, stating that the 2 deaths can be mainly attributed to a combination of the hospital failing to follow washing instructions, the supplier failing to train the hospital staff properly in those washing instructions, and the manufacturer writing ambiguous instructions.
No-one is off the hook. The hospital is clearly trying to shift the blame. There was apparently no washing protocol in place back then. There is now. However, there is a washing protocol in every restaurant in the country, so there should have been one in a theatre when dealing with heart valves and life and death. Without a doubt.
At the end, the Coroner looked at me and said to get in touch with his office and he would help with any papers etc that I needed. His officer repeated this after the Inquest. And the delightful surgeon, who I attach no blame to whatsoever, came up to me and one of the other families and my lawyer and said that there is never a day which passes when he does not wonder if, by using another make of valve, all this could have been avoided. He also looked at me and said "You should have been a barrister". I missed my calling, it seems.
So in a short while, I am speaking to the lawyer, and on we move to the next phase, which will involve press releases. At the moment, while it is out of the press, the hospital appear to hold all the cards. That is about to end. I am now ready to do whatever it takes.
So if any of you out there know any heart surgeons, I have a couple of questions about Labcor aortic heart valves. I want to know if any other hospitals around the globe are having problems. I do not do "discreet" enquiries. The time for "discreet" is long past.
This is now later, if you know what I mean. I was interrupted by a call from the lawyer, and we have sorted the next bit, which involves an article in the Sunday papers. I have emptied every paper I possess onto the floor to find various documents, as my filing consists of many piles. And shopping bags. And baskets. Sigh. Note to self: Sort the papers.
Oh - today was the 5th acupuncture session, just to add to the joys of life. I should be resting on the sofa. I am not. My brain is still in overdrive. Yesterday when I got home, after falling asleep a couple of times in the car, I spent the evening dozing, then waking to scribble questions down, dozing, etc etc. I was a passenger, I hasten to add, not the driver. Today has been much the same. I need to sleep, but my Brain. Will. Not. Stop.
I said you would hear all. So there you have it. Check out your address books to see if there are any cardiac surgeons lurking, if you wouldn't mind. I need all the help I can get.
My notebook, pen and I are now retreating to that sofa.