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(Herald Tribune (SW Florida))   Son who doesn't pay bill blames electric company for death of his oxygen machine-dependent dad   ( heraldtribune.com) divider line
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14134 clicks; posted to Main » on 26 Jun 2005 at 10:07 PM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2005-06-26 06:00:55 PM  
I wonder who the son would be suing if the power had been knocked offline by a hurricane...

I also wonder why the son wasn't paying the bills on time.

/personal responsibility surrenders
2005-06-26 06:05:31 PM  
Caradoc: I also wonder why the son wasn't paying the bills on time.

I also wondered if he notified the power co. that essential medical equipment was in use there.
2005-06-26 06:12:59 PM  
If he didn't

A) Notify the power company that essential medical equipment was in use, like they tell you to in every electric bill (at least every one of mine)
B)Pay said electric bill

Then he did this to himself and has no one to blame

/Doesn't have medical equipment in use and autopays electric bill
2005-06-26 06:18:04 PM  
Any word on whether the guy was simply late paying his bills, or was he simply poor?
2005-06-26 06:52:39 PM  
My thoughts went immediately to 'He got tired of caring for dear old dad, and now he needs to place the blame elsewhere'
2005-06-26 07:24:06 PM  
If I were Lakeland police, I would investigate for murder.. on the son't part. I mean, he's been late many times before and brings his dad home and bam! they shut off the power, and dad dies. Seems fishy. Also seems fishy how the guy is blaming the power company.. "It's despicable".. this guy gives me the heeby jeebies.
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2005-06-26 08:29:40 PM  
My power is off on average more than one hour per year. If my life depended on continuous electricity I wouldn't put myself in the hands of NStar. Not dying 99.99% of the time is not good enough.
2005-06-26 09:32:10 PM  
Doesn't/Shouldn't the power company warn you that they will be shutting your power off? Seems reasonable to me.
2005-06-26 09:36:06 PM  
In the expanded version of this story they ask why didn't the power company at least knock on their door. The spokesperson goes on to explain that if they knocked on everyones door they would need a police escort because some people get all bent out of shape because they didn't pay their bill and, even though they have received plenty of warning, they want to kick the disconnect guys ass even though the guy is just doing his job and they don't know him or anything about him.
2005-06-26 10:10:04 PM  
I think the dad died because of his advanced age and he was in somebody named "Kathleen".
2005-06-26 10:11:46 PM  
That's why I use solar power for all of my life-sustaining electronics.
2005-06-26 10:13:10 PM  
He'll probably sue the Electric company -- I hope they have ALL the evidence they need to show the son's IRRESPONSIBILITY is what killed his father... not the electric company.

He should've received a notice saying that the electricity was going to be shut off on a certain day...

I'm thinking the son should be charged with murder. He KNEW he didn't pay his electric bill. Why would they turn off the electricity and an HOUR later turn it back on?

What a cheeseball.
2005-06-26 10:14:40 PM  

Doesn't/Shouldn't the power company warn you that they will be shutting your power off? Seems reasonable to me

Yes they do, but the guy was probably told that his bill was 60,90, or whatever the law states in FL behind and if payment wasn't received by such and such day, power would be shut off at a set date.

/I know, I've delivered notices.
//Always pay the bill before it turns pink.
2005-06-26 10:14:44 PM  
A kissin'-cousin Darwin winner.
2005-06-26 10:14:50 PM  
If he didn't warn the company ahead of time, he is to blame, and nobody else. Everybody knows the electric company does not knock on the door before cutting the juice, and for good reason.
2005-06-26 10:15:03 PM  
In new york city, it's illegal for Con Edison (NYC electric comany) to take away a person's electricity if someone's life support depends on it, no matter how much you owe. Proof, however, must be presented.

/knows because one of our welfare tenants had power shut off and owed $500, no life support there
2005-06-26 10:16:57 PM  
It's illegal to it shut off in this kind of situation around here, and there are charities that will pick up the bill that advertise on billboards. Something tells me that the kid didn't speak up.
2005-06-26 10:17:16 PM  
i think everyone would be happier if the house burned down and they all died
2005-06-26 10:17:20 PM  
Why wouldn't you have a UPS if you had life saving equipment like that?

After all, what happens if someone runs into a power pole and you lose electricity? Would that then convert to 'vehicular manslaughter'?
2005-06-26 10:17:54 PM  
I rtfa; where else but in your back do you have a vertebra?
ok maybe neck.
2005-06-26 10:18:37 PM  
I wonder who the son would be suing if the power had been knocked offline by a hurricane...

the article didn't say he was suing did it? does he even have grounds to? even if he did i think he would probably lose, because he was negligent by bringing the guy into a house with the huge probability that this would happen; and i'm sure he knew about it.
2005-06-26 10:19:35 PM  
I knew my dad was going to die," Howerton said. "But he deserved to die better than what he did."

I concur. He didn't deserve to die because his son couldn't pay a utility bill. Shame he didn't have a responsible child to live with.

/yeah - I can be judgmental
2005-06-26 10:21:53 PM  
Cerebral, I agree. Investigate the son, not the company.


Because, somebody help me here if I'm wrong, but I'd think that an automated, constantly necessary piece of medical equipment like that would have a backup system. A battery, for example. Designed to last long enough for the caretaker to rig an auxiliary source of power, such as a private generator (also missing. What, would it have killed the son to have picked up one of those little Honda dealies I see people having a cookout set up?) What happened to it?

The worst part, it'd be my bet that Pop's medical bills is what was driving the couple to be late all the time.
2005-06-26 10:23:46 PM  
Nowhere in TFA does it say that he blames the electric company.
2005-06-26 10:25:39 PM  
"What they did was cruel and inhumane," Joyce Howerton said of her father-in-law's death. "It was despicable."

Sounds sort of like blame to me...
2005-06-26 10:25:54 PM  
Spud Boy

The son doesn't -- but his wife seems to think the utility company screwed the pooch on this one....

"What they did was cruel and inhumane," Joyce Howerton said of her father-in-law's death. "It was despicable."
2005-06-26 10:31:12 PM  
Incidentally, how was the power company to know if the family didn't tell them. When you don't pay your utility bills your service gets turned off; any idiot should know that. It was totally their own fault.
2005-06-26 10:33:25 PM  
I have had COPD for a few years now and require oxygen 24/7.
At one time I had an oxygen concentrator like this guy had.If you are going to use one of these things you must have some bottles of compressed oxygen as a backup in case of power failure. I use liquuid oxygen now which requires no power.
I am sure that Lakeland Electric gave him ample warning that they were going to shut him off.
2005-06-26 10:35:40 PM  
I really don't care

Pay your bills if you want the luxury of electricity
2005-06-26 10:36:13 PM  
TheGreatGazoo: Why wouldn't you have a UPS if you had life saving equipment like that?

Because you have a conventional tank of O2 that doesn't need electricity. Of course, that's only good for so many hours, but by then you could get the O2 company to deliver another tank. Or you could get a neighbor to run an extension cord.

//as neighbor
2005-06-26 10:38:11 PM  
That's just a sad sad thing. I could see where the son may not had the time to notify the electric company. Sometimes one is thust into situations with caring for elderly parents. They did turn the power back on after an hour of turning it off, however, the Son has only himself to blaim for lacking provisions in the care for his Farther.

\still sad though
2005-06-26 10:38:16 PM  
Michael Schiavo strikes again!

/going to hell
2005-06-26 10:38:49 PM  
Hell yeah, it's the son's fault.

In my family, gramps' backup had backups. There's a big electrical oxygen tank as mentioned this guy had. But gramps also had a small portable with about 4 hour supply (long enough to use while you travel to a hospital), And if that all fails there's was a big non-electric version that looked like a helium ballon tank with a couple DAYS supply. Gramps didn't have big money, but he was in Florida and it wasn't costing an arm and a leg.

The son was stupid not to get the small portable and the non-electric that he could have had. I hope the cops investigate him.
2005-06-26 10:39:17 PM  
wheres the moral outrage Jeb?

I fully expect to see a press release from J.Bush on this topic and how he wont stop until he finds the real killer.
2005-06-26 10:40:07 PM  
In Northern B.C., the electric company won't cut people off in the winter, because they might freeze to death.
2005-06-26 10:42:52 PM  
Kathleen is 28 miles northeast of Tampa.

Actually, I'm more like 80 miles north east of Tampa :D
2005-06-26 10:43:30 PM  
2005-06-26 10:44:34 PM  
Sounds fishy or the dude was just plain dumb. I imagine the the power company makes a number of threats before shutting off power to a home. Dude should have just called and explained the situation.

/Fark it I just noticed the Florida Tag
2005-06-26 10:45:51 PM  
As bad as I feel about this man's death, the son has no one to blame but himself. Where I live, they give plenty of notice before cutting off the electricity. In fact, there are generally two notices left at the home, hung from the doorknob, the second being the "final notice/we'll be shutting off your power on such and such a date" type of notice. While I haven't gotten one of these, I have had neighbors who have. Also, if you inform our local power company that there is someone in the household that has a medical condition that requires electricity (such as someone who needs oxygen,as did this man), our utility company asks for something from the person's doctor as to the person's medical condition. I expect that this utility also has such methods in place, but they had no way of knowing this person was in the household. If the son knew ahead of time that his father would be coming to stay at his house and that he needed equipment that was powered by electricity, he should have called the utility company beforehand and made the proper arrangements. It's highly likely that the utility company could have worked with them.
2005-06-26 10:45:58 PM  
I'd bet that the son probably blames himself but mostly his dead dad, the wife is the one who blames the electric company.

The real dumbass here is the old man with emphysema, which is almost always caused by smoking. He had probably been a drain on the family's expenses for years due to his self inflicted illness.
2005-06-26 10:48:02 PM  

That's why I use solar power for all of my life-sustaining electronics.

Sweet dreams!
2005-06-26 10:48:21 PM  
Another case of Republicans and George Bush killing all the elderly and poor.

After all it cant possibly be the son's fault.
2005-06-26 10:50:32 PM  
I'm assuming this guy wasnt on one of the bottles of compressed air, being as the lack of electricity wouldnt affect that.

Anyway...This again is another example of someone not taking personal responsability for their own Fark-ups.

If it came down to it how hard would it be to run a extension cord from the neighbors, call the Hospital/Police/Ambulance, or if all that fails throw the old guy in a car and run him to the hospital.

The thing that also gets me is that the machines they send to homes usually have a battery backup, and if this is so, then the family definitly should have had time to at least get an ambulance there.

Something about this just sounds a bit strange. Like maybe on some subconscious(or conscious) level they wanted to whack the old guy.

/Excuse me folks gotta readjust my tinfoil hat.
//More //// for the tinfoil hats
///slashy-slash-slash-slash(*crinkle crinkle goes the hat*)
2005-06-26 10:51:46 PM  
People who make said claims need to exit the food chain.

Darwin, work quicker.
2005-06-26 10:52:50 PM  
[image from hfstival.com too old to be available]

/i blame ChrisPC
2005-06-26 11:03:19 PM  
I wonder how it feels to kill your father because you're an idiot.
2005-06-26 11:03:42 PM  
Slackware Grrl

Hell yeah, it's the son's fault.

In my family, gramps' backup had backups.

I was thinking it was mighty suspicious, like you said, it's Florida after all, losing power isn't exactly something uncommon. So, why was there not a backup system for his medical stuff for the possibility of when the power goes out? I mean, if it's essential for life, you'd think they'd have prepared for that possibility.

Perhaps he wasn't qualified to be taking care of his dad? Or his dad wasn't supposed to be at his house?

Also, the phones work when the power is out, perhaps he could have called an ambulance to alert them that the oxygen wasn't operating, etc.
2005-06-26 11:03:46 PM  
If anything, HE should blame himself for the death of his father. Pay the farking bill and be responsible. I don't know ANYONE who can't afford paying for the utility bill. Then again I am good at keeping good company.
2005-06-26 11:04:02 PM  
For now, I do customer service for one of the electric companies in Texas. One of the main things you are required to do if you are a customer that requires life support is notify the utility. But, that still doesn't prevent them from cutting you off if you don't pay. They'll cut you a BIT of slack, but not consistent slack for 3 months in a row or so. Responsibility still lies w/ the customer. No ifs ands or buts.
2005-06-26 11:04:25 PM  
Happy Father's Day!!!
/non-smoking section please...
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