Friday, October 28, 2011
A "Catch 22"
Since late September, a ten-year-old boy has been held in a psychiatric ward of a D.C. hospital. He was admitted because he had stabbed another child in the eye with a pencil and had threatened to kill himself. He has quite a history. His mother and stepfather don't want him home, I suspect because they cannot cope with him. His father has no visitation rights following a bitter divorce. The Maryland county he lives in can't do anything without parental consent and the hospital needs the bed for other patients. His doctors know that he needs to be in a more open facility. Right now he feels abandoned and unwanted. Our local newspaper has been following the court case over this boy's legal conundrum. The hospital feels like it's being forced to "warehouse" the boy and cannot provide him with the services he needs. The boy's father has said he is willing to take in his son to join him and his second wife and their young daughter. I wonder if he realizes what this could mean for all of them. The real tragedy is that this child, who clearly seems to have serious mental problems, is caught in a situation wherein no one wants to deal with him. His fate is being left up to a judge who sounds equally frustrated and perhaps disgusted with the whole situation. When people decide to make a baby -- and let's face it, few actually conscientiously decide on such a major move -- they have to know there are no guarantees. You may end up with a perfect angel of a child or you could produce one with mental or physical problems. Trying to ignore a child with problems, as this mother seems to be doing, is against human nature. So I have to believe she is at the end of her maternal rope. Still, she owes it to her son and society to do what is necessary to provide the best possible life for him. This may require placing him in an institutional home or letting his biological father try to help his son. Either way, he is losing whatever ground he gained in treatment by being left in limbo. What do you think?