In order to comply with this agreement, we have revamped WILL'S HEART PAGE (omitting information that the state might find objectionable). Please note that the intent of this page is simply to provide a brief narrative summary of Will's struggles with congenital heart disease. The information in this page is in no way meant to impugn or criticize the state, its agencies, or its employees. Furthermore, the information in the original version of this page was never meant to malign the state or its agencies--rather to encourage a sense of accountability (which it has partially accomplished).
Nonetheless, it is ironic that the state and its agents are free to obfuscate and dissemble regarding this matter. However, if we simply tell what we believe to be the truth about what happened, our family will be penalized by the state.
"vincit omnia veritas"
A few caveats
before you proceed...
Readers who have previously visited this website may have noticed that it has changed dramatically. Unfortunately for those of you who did not see our original page, we cannot reproduce it. As noted above, we are precluded from engaging in criticism or complaints against... well, we cannot even say the name of the hospital--so from hereon we will simply refer to it as "the hospital." For those of you who are interested in legalities, click here for the portion of the settlement that describes these restrictions.
Many people probably wonder why we capitulated and agreed to what was admittedly a one-sided settlement? Specifically, why did we agree to relinquish our rights to lodge further civil and criminal actions, our rights to file complaints with regulatory agencies, even our right to make public criticisms? The simple truth is that we did not have a choice. The draconian sovereign immunity laws in the state of Wisconsin make it well nigh impossible to sue state agencies, even if relevant information was withheld from the plaintiff. The likely trajectory of Will's case against the state was that it would be appealed to the appellate and supreme courts where we would eventually lose. We would likely lose because a ruling in our favor would expose the state to a flood of litigation. Simply put, it is unlikely that the state would allow that to happen. We expect that the well being of one small child would be secondary to the greater good of the state (like it or not, that is how states work). Therefore we made the decision to provide something for Will and in doing so to cut off our voice to some degree. To do otherwise would have been to put our agenda ahead of Will's best interest.
So, you ask, why did the state offer to settle at all? Well dear reader, we believe that it was because of you! Readers like you were so touched and outraged by our original webpage that you moved the state to make some degree of resolution (note, however, that the state has not accepted any responsibility or blame by accepting this settlement -- nor do we publicly ascribe any blame to them).
Please also note that as you read this an army of attorneys in Wisconsin is probably busy reading this webpage (at taxpayers expense) trying to determine whether we have made criticism or fomented dissent or had impure thoughts against the state of Wisconsin. Rest assured, we have no intention of doing that. In fact we cannot do that... we cannot criticize, we cannot name names, we cannot draw conclusions, and we cannot ask you, dear reader, to do so on our behalf.
All we can do is try to state the facts of Will's health in a nonjudgmental fashion. That is all that we have left to us. Apparently, the state of Wisconsin felt that it was too dangerous to them to let us do otherwise. The fact that slander and libel laws would have protected them like any average citizen was apparently not enough.
In stating these facts, we try to do honor to Will and to provide information for other families about how to protect their loved ones when they require medical attention. Much of the information in this web page may be shocking and upsetting. It is certainly not our intent to cause distress to the people who have loved and cared for Will. However, the fact remains that Will suffered a series of severe medical and developmental problems during the first 18 months of his life. No blame, no finger pointing, just simply the facts.
As far as the state of Wisconsin is concerned this matter is finished. They can walk away as if it never happened. Unfortunately for Will, his health problems will never go away. During the first three months of this year he will undergo at least three hospitalizations and as many as five surgeries and procedures. He constantly lives with the reality of hospital visits and needle sticks. We constantly live with the fear of losing him or of seeing him subjected to an endless stream of frightening and painful medical procedures.
One last point... we are not doctors or attorneys, nor do we claim to have the expertise possessed by such professionals. We are just parents who have tried to do our best to raise our two sons. Despite our lack of professional expertise, we have striven to present a fair and accurate accounting in this webpage. The focus of the page may have changed, but the message is still clear... love your children to the fullest every day.
Click to go to:
An open letter regarding Will's health problems
narrative summary of Will's health problems