Vol. 12, No. 2,856W - The American Reporter - March 18, 2006

Make My Day

by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
Syracuse, Indiana

SYRACU.S.E, Ind. -- We all make choices in life. And if our parents raised us right, we learn to accept the circumstances that result from our choices.

But if our parents didn't raise us right, and we have the common sense of a stick, we blame everyone else for our bad choices.

That's what Amanda Hagan of Allentown, Pa., is doing. She's suing the Norristown State Hospital and Montgomery County for gross negligence that resulted in her overdose.

What did they do? Give her too much medication? Give her the wrong pill? Make her eat the carrot-and-organge Jello?

No, during a 1999 stay, they allowed a visitor to smuggle cocaine and heroin into the hospital. Hagan then shot up the drugs, broke the needle off in her arm, and says the staff failed to notice the needle or that she was high when they gave her an antidepressant. She believes her overdose could have been prevented if the hospital had realized she was a complete moron.

Okay, she really didn't say the part about being a moron. But she claims the rest in a lawsuit she filed in May 2001, seeking $50,000 in damages. If she wins, hospitals may have to start profiling patients based on the stupidity of the actions that brought them there.

Doctor #1: This guy was injured after using dynamite to get his cat out of a tree.

Doctor #2: Slap a straitjacket on him and shove him in the broom closet.

Doctor #1: We can't. We already put in the woman who blames us for her overeating and the guy who used a match to see how much gas was in his car.

According to a June 25, 2003 article in the Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call, Hagan also says the hospital failed to warn visitors not to bring illegal drugs onto the grounds.

In other words, there wasn't a big sign outside that said "Warning: do not bring illegal drugs into this hospital, even though you already know you could be arrested for having them."

Hagan's suit include the hospital owner, Kevin Selvoski (who supplied the drugs), and two unidentified drug dealers. However, I'm pretty sure she'll have a hard time collecting from the unnamed drug dealers, so she might sue the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for failing to stop the drugs at the border.

"My client got high at the hospital and, in my opinion, they should have found a way to prevent that," said Arthur Braitman, Hagan's attorney. Braitman then jabbed a pencil into his leg and sued the pencil company for failing to stop him or warn him that pencils are sharp.

Actually, Arthur, they did try to prevent her from getting high: they committed her involuntarily. Committing someone against their will pretty much means they're trying to stop her.

According to reports, Hagan and her roommate shot up that night, and Hagan's needle broke off in her arm. At 10 pm, a nurse gave Hagan an antidepressant, after failing to ask her if anyone in the room had shot up with cocaine and heroin in the last eight hours.

Surprisingly, Hagan is not suing the needle manufacturer for the faulty needle. Perhaps she realized that a) it's a case of biting the hand that fed her, or b) is pretty stupid, even for her.

She is also not suing the antidepressant maker for failing to put a large red label on the pill that said "Warning: Do not take this medication if you have just injected heroin and cocaine while involuntarily committed to a drug treatment facility."

According to the lawsuit, another roommate heard Hagan gasping for air and tried to wake her before calling for help. Hagan was treated at the emergency room of Montgomery Hospital in Norristown, and says she took three days to recover from the overdose.

A few days later, according to court records, Hagan cut her wrists with a can of juice given to her by a staff member. So, she is also suing the hospital on the grounds that the staff should not have given her a metal can. Surprisingly, she is not suing the juice manufacturer for failing to put a warning label on the can that says "Warning: Do not use juice can to attempt suicide."

It's obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense that the only person Hagan can blame for her situation is herself. Of course, that's an ounce more than she or her lawyer have between them.

But I'm sure Hagan will sue somebody over that too.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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