by Torie Cavaleri
I lost my daughter, Madison, Oct 24, 95, she was 3 1/2 months. I received a phone call at 9:00 am from her caregiver that the worst had happened, the police and EMS were on the way. When I got there (in 3 minutes) she was already in the ambulance and they would not let me see her - I now understand why - the last thing they needed was for me to get in their way. They let me ride in the ambulance (with the driver), we had police escort all they way to Texas Children's Hospital. The ride seemed to take forever - all I can remember is calling out to Madison that her mommy was right there and that I love her. When we got to the hospital they separated us again - she was in the ER and they took me to a small empty room and left me alone - without a phone to call my husband, and without any word about Madison. To make a terrible story short, it took them about 15 minutes to finally come in and tell me she was gone. They did not know why, a autopsy would be done to determine the reason. When my husband arrived at the hospital they did allow us a few minutes alone with Madison - why only a few minutes, well they asked permission donate her heart valves and in order to save them they had to act quickly. The next day, the detective on this case (homicide detective) called to say the cause of death was SIDS. The hospital called to make sure we were ok and if we needed any assistance. It was my mother who found the SIDS support group in my area.
I later found out they the homicide detective asked the caregiver, Augusta, to come down to the station, she was "asked to give up her rights and answer questions" - they did not detain her overnight, but she was the last to know. I was not able to reach her until the next day - she did everything she could, started CPR, called 911 and called me (all in that order) - if it had been anything other than SIDS, Madison would be alive because of her efforts. The police never told her this, for 24 hours she lived in fear and in hell. After two years she is ok - she found a support group for caregivers who lost children to SIDS.
We buried our daughter with other babies in BABYLAND at a cemetery close to us and I visit as much as I can - I still cry for Madison and each time I see another baby buried.
On June 10, 97 we were blessed with our son, Charles. I still live in fear of SIDS everyday - what we need is education not accusations. Child abuse is very serious, so is SIDS - I feel the focus should be on our medical examiners and homicide detectives to learn and identify, not to determine guilt before innocence.
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