Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Put The Husband On Trial

Something has been bothering me about the Andrea Yates story for quite some time, and it actually has very little to do with whether or not she knew right from wrong or the merits of having a new trial. After hearing the facts on one of the news magazines a while back, I realized that there are two other people that should be on trial also – two people who are probably more at fault than Andrea is. I am talking about her husband and their doctor.

While having her fourth child, Andrea suffered a severe bout of postpartum depression. It was so bad that their doctor at the time recommended that they have no more children. Well that didn’t satisfy her husband, who sought a new doctor who would permit them to have another child (their fifth). After having the fifth child, Andrea suffered from postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. Both the new doctor and the husband knew the risks of having another child (as did Andrea), and both should be held responsible for pushing to go ahead anyway. Since both are complicit in what lead to her depression, both should be held criminally negligent. I would expect the same thing if two people conspired to hide medication from a patient with mental illness. In both situations, the people involved knew the consequences of their actions.