Woman On Life Support Dies After Electric Co. Cuts Her Power Off

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by ajc2804, May 30, 2007.

  1. ajc2804

    ajc2804 New Member

    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A New Zealand mother who needed an electric oxygen pump to breathe died after an energy company cut the power to her home due to an unpaid bill, her family claimed Wednesday.
    Police said they launched an investigation into the death of Folole Muliaga, 44, on Tuesday, in the northern city of Auckland, which happened within two hours of state-owned company Mercury Energy cutting power to her house.
    Mercury Energy's general manager, James Moulder, said the company was devastated by the woman's death and was conducting its own investigation to determine what happened.
    He refused to say how much money Muliaga had owed the company.



    *more at link*
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,276315,00.html
     
  2. Loading...


  3. SewingDeb

    SewingDeb "Sorry, I'm not qualified to land the plane."

    Messages:
    8,957
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That is so sad and totally preventable.
     
  4. Lurker

    Lurker Former Member

    Messages:
    2,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Either that guy is totally heartless or there's more to this story. If family members were there when they cut the power, why didn't they take her somewhere else? Why wait while she suffered for 2 hours until she died? Maybe I'm missing something but I think there's more to this story.
     
  5. philamena

    philamena Former Member

    Messages:
    7,766
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    How incredibly sad.
    I don't know how things are done in New Zealand, but here in the states whe someone is unable to pay their bills, they can often make arrangements with the utility companies for extentions.......especially if a medical condition warrants the service of the company. Another way to seek needed assistance is to contact local churches. My church helps those in need by paying power bills, phone bills, etc.
     
  6. Gmommy

    Gmommy Inactive

    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    When we had severe power outages here our neighbor called the fire department who brought a generator for their premature grandson's oxygen/ventilator support and they were at the house in under ten minutes. I would hope they do things similarly. I also know you can file for emergency power access.

    This is such a sad and preventable situation I feel really sorry for the family.
     
  7. Taximom

    Taximom Former Member

    Messages:
    16,234
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't understand why there wasn't backup in case of an unplanned power failure.

    Locally they say that power won't be turned off for unpaid bills if you have a form on file (signed by a dr) saying you need the electricity to live etc. Don't know what goes on in NZ. So sad for this woman and her family though.
     
  8. TheShadow

    TheShadow New Member

    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would like to hear the results of this investigation. I work for the electric utility here, and we have not only a program to notify us of a medical need for electricity, but we actually give people that require an electrically powered medical device a discount. I believe that the utility probably had no notice from the customer of the medical condition requiring electricity. Otherwise there would have been a lot of notification prior to the power being disconnected for non-payment. If the family was notified, and then they didn't move the patient to another location, then they are themselves responsible for her death. It is everyone's responsibility to be prepared for the event of an unplanned power outage. What would have happened if the power went out in a big storm and it took hours or even days to restore it? Families with people dependent on electricity to live need to have contingency plans.
     
  9. RiverRat

    RiverRat Patsy Ramsey to the Left

    Messages:
    2,909
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "Almost immediately, Muliaga began having difficulty breathing, became faint and then collapsed, he said. Paramedics were unable to revive her, and she was pronounced dead within two hours of the power being cut."
     
  10. michelle

    michelle Joy comes in the Morning

    Messages:
    9,908
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
  11. Lurker

    Lurker Former Member

    Messages:
    2,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks RiverRat, I didn't see that part. When were the paramedics called? If that were someone in my family and some heartless SOB was getting ready to turn the power off, I would've been on the phone with 911 when his truck pulled in the driveway.

    I still think there's more to the story. Why wouldn't the guy call his supervisor and relay what was going on?
     
  12. MSM

    MSM New Member

    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It seems very odd that there would be no backup plan in case of a power outage from a storm, for example...and if the guy from the electric company was there before the power was shut off, and her family knew about it, why didn't they do something? Or were they assured that the power wouldn't be cut off? I am confused.

    I'm also confused about what type of breathing machine she had that caused her to die when it was shut off. Oxygen tanks do not require electricity to work. Mechanical ventilators do, but an ambu-bag can be used manually to ventilate a patient when the power is off (this is how patients are transported in hospitals, and how people on ventilators were kept alive during Katrina, for example). Again, I would think that the family members of a patient who relied on a ventilator would be trained to use the backup measures in case of power failure.

    Still, the electricity shouldn't have been shut off if the company was made aware of the medical necessity.
     
  13. White Rain

    White Rain Active Member

    Messages:
    4,831
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    How sad.

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A New Zealand mother who needed an electric oxygen pump to breathe died after an energy company cut the power to her home due to an unpaid bill, her family claimed Wednesday.
    Police said they launched an investigation into the death of Folole Muliaga, 44, on Tuesday, in the northern city of Auckland, which happened within two hours of state-owned company Mercury Energy cutting power to her house.
    Mercury Energy's general manager, James Moulder, said the company was devastated by the woman's death and was conducting its own investigation to determine what happened.
    He refused to say how much money Muliaga had owed the company.
    Muliaga, a schoolteacher with four children ages 5 to 20, had been off work since February with an illness when a Mercury Energy representative arrived on Tuesday to disconnect the electricity, said Sheehan, a nephew-in-law of Muliaga's.
    Sheehan said both Muliaga and her son told the technician she was dependent on the oxygen machine to stay alive and invited him into the house to see it, so he knew the situation. (more at link)
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,276315,00.html
     
  14. kazzbar

    kazzbar Inactive

    Messages:
    4,175
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I see a lawsuit about to happen And I hope the family win.
     
  15. timetravel

    timetravel care giver of all stray and feral cats who come my

    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I agree that the company person sent to turn off the electricity should have phoned his supervisor first....a decision like that should not be left in a technician's hands....
    perhaps only the woman's children were home at the time he arrived? Even if notices had been sent, is it possible she was too ill to deal with them?
    Where I live, in maryland - esp. baltimore city - I can tell you they honestly don't care. Even if you are on total life support - if you don't make arrangements to pay your bill - they will cut you off. Extensions? they give you ONE WHOLE WEEK to pay the turnoff amount before turning you off - there is no such thing as a payment plan. and to top it off, our bills will be increasing by fifty percent next month. my last bill was nearly two hundred dollars for one month. I pay all our bills before spending money on anything else - but if push ever came to shove i'd pay the electric bill before the rent - cause at least if the rent is late you can buy time here.....
     
  16. Mygirlsadie

    Mygirlsadie New Member

    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Oh man this is awful. Were the family members not aware of her unpaid bill? You would think someone would be watching over those kinds of things? When my son was on Oxygen and our power went out due to a bad storm we had portable oxygen tanks we hooked him up to until the power was restored I wonder if she had portable tanks? Or was she on more then oxygen? I need to go back and re-read this story but man this is just an awful thing....
     
  17. Lurker

    Lurker Former Member

    Messages:
    2,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
  18. GlitchWizard

    GlitchWizard Reprobate

    Messages:
    3,358
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If I needed electricity to survive, I think I'd know the due date of my bill and have a backup plan in case the electric went out even by accident.
     
  19. LadyLuck

    LadyLuck New Member

    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My Mother was on oxygen 24/7 . Her machine was run on electricity. She had portable oxygen tanks that did not need electricity. When she was first put on the machine we notified our electric company but that did not qualify for special considerations (I guess because of the available portable tanks) We kept a portable tank ready to go right by her bed in case there was a power outage. The company that supplied her electric machine provided the portable and we always had a good number on hand.
     
  20. GlitchWizard

    GlitchWizard Reprobate

    Messages:
    3,358
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That is a good case of having responsibility for your own health and well being! Yay Mom!


    Seems to me that if the situation truely required electricity immediately, they could have run an extension cord from a neighbors, wired something to the battery of the car, put her in the car and toted her to a hospital, the library, a gas station - something. Not sit there for two hours and whininging about the electric guy.
     
  21. christine2448

    christine2448 Retired WS Staff

    Messages:
    10,385
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Right???? :waitasec: :clap: :crazy: :doh: :doh: :doh:

    I just don't understand, none of this makes any sense to me.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice