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Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Lazarus Child by Robert Mawson

Image of The Lazarus ChildI found this buried near the bottom of my TBR pile, and I'm so glad I did. It was a very interesting story posing some thought provoking questions (in my opinion): when a person suffers serious trauma resulting in a coma or puts the person into a vegetative state, where does the essence/core/soul of that person go and is it still reachable? Another question is, just because you can do something, does that mean you should do it?

John Heywood has an affair with his secretary and confesses it to his wife who kicks him out of their home. He now lives in his office. This means he is no longer available to take Ben, his son, and Frankie, his daughter, to school every morning. So, the children, along with Frankie's friend walk to school. This is fine until the day a terrible accident happens and all three children are traumatized forever.

The Heywoods live in England, and under the national health care policy, Frankie is getting the required care for her condition. The problem is she isn't getting more than that, and for as long as Frankie lives, there is no reason to expect she will ever get any better much less ever recover. However, in America there is a doctor who specializes in bringing children back to life from these kinds of serious trauma cases. The results are always uncertain when the doctor begins her treatment of the patient. There are some recoveries, and there are some children who, while they may appear awake, have by no means recovered any of their faculties and need full-time, constant care.

The Heywoods have to decide if they should take their daughter from the health care situation she is being provided and move her to America so that she may undergo treatment from this trail blazing doctor. Is it the right thing for their family, and can they deal with whatever the consequences of this treatment provide.

While parts of this story have to rely completely upon the imagination of the author, it remains a timely story with thought provoking themes of ethics, morality, and how on earth one knows how to be a "good" parent with the best interests of his/her child at heart while in the midst of overwhelming obstacles.

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