Can ticketing by law enforcement go too far? | This n That

There are times when the legality of laws and policies strike all of us as a “situation impossible” (one of my own expressions).  On June 25, our daughter, Donna, experienced just such a situation after an unusual and serious illness brought on by a cat scratch over a tendon in her right hand. It may sound like a simple soap-and-water cleanse and dab of antiseptic should take care of it. Not always so.

Daughter left for the office that morning with a painful swelling in her right hand, which was turning purple in color.

Arriving at work, the intention was to call her Group Health doctor a few blocks away in Poulsbo. The hand continued getting more swollen and hurting far worse and she was feeling not herself. The clinic said come in immediately.

Animal bites and scratches are considered dangerous if an infection gets into the wound. She managed to drive to the clinic to find the nearest parking was in front in the handicap zone. By then the pain was confusing her thought process and she was ready to pass out. Not wanting to cause an accident she pulled into the handicap parking, almost too light-headed to walk inside.

It was a real emergency and she was seen immediately.

The infection had advanced very quickly. It is not just fear of an infection from an animal, but of a disease being transmitted, and also the fear of the flesh-eating MRSA bacteria. After tests and treatment, powerful antibiotics were prescribed with the possibility of her ending up in the hospital if they did not work.

Her next unhappy news was to find a $450 ticket on her car for parking in the handicap site. She pulled in to that spot because physically she could not go any further to find another parking place. Her condition could have been the cause of an accident had she not had the wits to be cautious. Seeing this car right in front of the floor-level office and admitting room, a few steps away, could not the officer have stuck his or her head in the door, and inquired if there was an emergency, seeing no card in the car window?

Now, I don’t excuse people who park in a handicap spot without having the issued placard. It makes me angry. Don has to use a card to park as close as possible for his appointments because of lung problems. About five steps and he runs low on air. A completely mobile individual parking in a handicap spot makes a double inconvenience for a handicapped person. But this was a true emergency.

Dr. Brody has written that Donna had an acute and rapidly progressive infection in her right hand. It needed treatment right away. She had arrived on the verge of passing out.

The officer was right to be responsible in his or her job — no argument. Had my daughter known how critical her condition was to become, she could have called 9-1-1. However, she did not realize that in a matter of minutes conditions can change.

Now the question: Should she be called “responsible” or “irresponsible”? She didn’t know something so seemingly simple as a scratch could turn into a life-threatening condition that impaired physical action at a critical moment. Should her decision to park where she did be considered an infraction of law to the tune of $450? If you were the judge on an appeal, what would your decision be? And, by the way, at this time Donna is still under observation by her doctor to be sure the infection, while healing finally, hasn’t sent some bad bacteria to other parts of the body.

So our advice is, do be careful of any bites or scratches you may receive from your animals and see your physician right away if it does not look normal.


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