Friday, January 18, 2008

Primum non nocere

I was traveling all day yesterday, and didn't go online when I got home. So I missed that the verdict in the Karen McCarron case came in. As most everyone in the world with any connection with autism knows, in May, 2006 Karen McCarron murdered her child Katie by holding a garbage bag over her head until she suffocated and died. Her lawyer had argued that she was not guilty by reason of insanity, but the evidence said otherwise, as she actively tried to cover up her crime.

Karen McCarron was a doctor. A person who was trained to heal. Since at least the late 19th century, the phrase "primum non nocere" (First, do no harm) has been a common medical aphorism. The admonition is to make doctors stop and consider any harmful effects their treatment might have, and make sure that the potential beneficial effects outweigh the bad.

The last time I checked, murder was not considered a viable treatment option for anything.

The end of the trial brings a conclusion for the rest of the McCarron family who grieve for their lost child, but I am afraid that this is not the end for those who would do harm to those who are different.

Katie McCarron was loved by many, and murdered by a woman who betrayed the trust that Katie put in her as her mother, a person who was trained to heal, but chose to murder.

There is no joy in the guilty verdict. It will not bring Katie back. But perhaps-perhaps it will give some pause to those who would make videos saying that they have considered killing their offspring. Perhaps it will give some pause to those who concentrate on "getting rid of the autism" instead of loving their child.

Perhaps it will make all of us think differently when we see people disparaged, disowned, and devalued for their differences.

10 comments:

Ange said...

Wonderful post. "... stop and consider any harmful effects their treatment might have, and make sure that the potential beneficial effects outweigh the bad." Is something I wish more doctors and parents did. But it is also something that eats away at me every day in the choices I make. I spoke with a mom clawing at the doors to have her child participate in the human trials of something for Fragile X, and she was flabergasted by my opinions. I brought up how there are people who want to use stem cells to grow corpus collosums to fix their kids (with structural differences like my son's),a nd how that disturbed me. And she couldn't believe I wouldn't choose to do that if I had the option. When I explained some of the potential consequences (if it were even possible), and what that meant to me, her husband at least said "Huh, I see what you mean."

Steve D said...

Well said, Joe. I especially like your last line.

mike stanton said...

Well said indeed.

Camille said...

Thank you.

Marla said...

"Perhaps it will give some pause to those who concentrate on "getting rid of the autism" instead of loving their child."

Very well said.

autismfamily said...

This is a great post and I hope it gets many thinking about acceptance.

DJ said...

Beautifully said! While the verdict does not bring Katie back, at least there is a chance at justice.

RIP, Katie. There are many people out there, including me, who love and miss you greatly.

Daisy said...

Beautifully stated. I've been repressing the emotions of this case until now. Reading Katie's father's press release and now reading your post brings up the tears,- and sends me to the other room to hug my (Asperger's, blind) teenager -- that is, if he lets me. :) He's still a teenager, after all.

Casdok said...

Yes well said.

kristina said...

Thank you for this----the words of your title are ringing through my head right now.