November 10, 2007

Religious Snake-Handler's Family Sues Hospital in Snake Bite Death

While we're on the subject of snakes, how about this tidbit of stupid from the state that brought us the Creationist museum, Kentucky?

Snakebite victim's family sues

As a woman bitten by a rattlesnake during a church service in London struggled to breathe, hospital employees made derogatory comments about her religious beliefs rather than providing proper care, contributing to her death, a lawsuit charges.

The case arises from the Nov. 5, 2006, death of Linda F. Long, 48, a London homemaker. Police said at the time that Long was handling a yellow timber rattler during a service at East London Holiness Church when the snake bit her on the right cheek...

According to the lawsuit, on the way to Marymount, someone in the vehicle called 911 at 7:46 p.m.; a dispatcher connected the call to the hospital, and the driver asked for an air ambulance to fly Long to Lexington. Hospital employees assured the Long family a helicopter was available.

A nurse met Long and those with her in the parking area outside the emergency room. Rather than take Long in right away, the nurse engaged Long and her family "in a lengthy and time-consuming series of questions" that went far beyond getting information needed to treat the snakebite, the lawsuit states.

After being taken into the hospital at 8:09 p.m., Long said she was having trouble breathing, and asked for oxygen. Hospital employees gave her a portable, oscillating fan as they allegedly "snickered and made derogatory comments" to employees -- and Long's family -- about the religious beliefs and circumstances under which she was bitten.
I'm going to stop right there. The 911 call on behalf of this religious nitwit was made at 7:46. She was at the hospital by 8:09 (that's 23 minutes) and by 8:28 she was being airlifted by helicopter to a treatment center. That's 42 minutes, which hardly sounds slow to me. I don't buy the story that medical workers laughed at her when she asked for oxygen; that sounds like embellishment, though of course I don't know. Then again, this is a pretty stupid way to die and certainly worthy of a Darwin Award.
The defendants named in the lawsuit are the hospital; Faith Howard, the registered nurse who allegedly met Long outside the emergency room; and Dr. Edward Wilson, who was on duty in the emergency room...
This family is suing the hospital and the doctors who attempted to treat their pea-brained daughter. Note that they're not suing the church that handed their daughter poisonous snakes and had her convinced that an invisible sky-daddy was going to stop them from biting her on the face. It wasn't snakes or medical negligence that killed this woman, it was her own lack of basic common sense and her credulity placed in a tremendously moronic religious practice. So if these people want to sue somebody, maybe it ought to be this god character. He apparently failed to hold up his end of the bargain.
The complaint also says the unprofessional comments about Long's religious beliefs were discriminatory and caused her and her family emotional pain and humiliation...
More emotional pain and humiliation than raising a daughter who willingly picked up poisonous snakes and set herself up to be bitten on the face? Awww, the poor snake-handling idiot whose own brain-dead behavior got her killed. Please, please, please tell me she never reproduced. Her family should be embarrassed by their daughter's religious beliefs.
Handling snakes in a religious service is a misdemeanor in Kentucky, but police rarely pursue charges because the practice involves a matter of religious freedom and believers are willing participants...
In other words, the state attempted to enforce common sense on these numbskulls and they cry about freedom of religion. Fine. Good. Get bitten by poisonous snakes. But when you do, you have no right to force a medical institution to defend itself because of something you did to yourself and you have no right to dignified treatment by anyone with an IQ larger than their shoe size. Everyone else on the planet is telling you that you shouldn't handle poisonous snakes, you insist that invisible spirits are going to protect you — against all empirical knowledge and common sense — and then you demand that everybody else respects your beliefs when you get killed by them? Hey, guess what... there's no more reason to respect your belief than there is to respect the beliefs of a drunk driver who insists that he can drive well after downing a six pack. There is no difference between snake-handling religious fanatics and drunk drivers in terms of the validity and valuable of their beliefs. We are all responsible for making sure that your self-destructive faith-induced imbecility is never given any respect.
The county attorney in Bell County filed a complaint against a snake-handling preacher in 1995 after a woman was bitten at a Middlesboro church and died, but a judge refused to issue a summons for the preacher.
See what you get for giving any respect to snake-handling bible-thumpers? That preacher is probably still out there passing around venomous reptiles, even after the death he's already facilitated. He shouldn't be respected; he should be serving a long, long prison sentence.
Snake-handlers believe the practice shows faith and God's power. The text for the belief is Mark 16:17-18: "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
Hey, guess what! Mark 16:17-18 is a load of bullshit. Just ask the last snake-handling pinhead to get bitten in Kentucky. Oh, you can't... because she's dead. Gee, didn't all her co-worshipers gather around and place their hands on her and make her well? I guess that part is a load of crap, too.
I can only wish the best to all of those who find themselves on the receiving end of one of the dumbest lawsuits of which I've ever heard. Ultimately, the only person responsible for the death of Linda F. Long is Linda F. Long. It was her choice to believe in this stinking pile of religiously-inspired nonsense, it was her decision to handle a timber rattler with her bare hands, and it was her own doing that she's now deceased.

Behold yet another victim of ignorance. But hey, maybe if her fellow fundamentalist whack-jobs close their eyes really tightly and pray really, really hard, they can bring her back from the dead. Or maybe they can all shove rattlesnakes down their trousers and dance a jig. Personally, I'm just fine with either choice. As Long would be able to testify if she hadn't let a rattlesnake chew on her face, faith will work equally well in either attempt.

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