Have you ever dealt with a system that totally frustrated you because the logic got lost?  Have you ever done business with a group that just did not get it or could not be reasonable?  Well it happens.  The purpose of having a policy is to provide guidelines for persons in a system to make decisions.  Policies should make a value statement about an issue and provide a procedure to make the value statement come true.  However, due to many issues, policies become rigid, inflexible rules that do more harm than good.  Hence, the frustration with “systems”.

My husband and I decided fifteen years ago to donate our bodies to the University of South Carolina Med School.  Good decision.  But when he drown, it turned out not to be good.  There is a law that says a drowning victim must have an autopsy.  I am sure the intent of the law  (the value statement) is to determine if the drowning was accidental or otherwise.  So the law would, for this purpose, be a policy statement.  We need to be sure there was no foul play.  This is good.

But, The USC Med school will not take a body that has been autopsyed. This is not good.  For me to carry out my husband’s wishes, I needed to have the cause of death determined without an autopsy.  In my limited knowledge base, I felt a syringe to draw out lake water from the lungs and a check of body fluids to rule out toxins should do the job. Simple logic. But the law says it must be an autopsy.

Now here is where the frustration begins.  At what point do we expect educated, knowledgeable persons to be able to make judgements instead of check boxes.  I guess we have moved into a world that judgements are too complicated and no one wants to have to defend their judgement.  Not good.

I spent two days going around with systems to finally have to decide against my husbands wishes.  I finally heard an official say, “Accidental death insurance policies will not pay if an autopsy has not been done”.  Wouldn’t it have been simple to ask if there were any accidental insurance policies?  If this was the issue, it could have been solved by asking a simple question.  There was not an accidental death policy.

There are two points to be made from this experience.  First, it is important to make you arrangements now.  Don’t put them off.  Put your donation in writing.  Put your cremation in writing.  Put your funeral wishes in writing.  Get on a payment plan.  You don’t die cheaply. And you will die. Make your plans, put them in writing and let them be known.

This is good.

Secondly, understand that what you plan may not happen.  There may be some bureaucrat out there that will refuse to ask the right questions, or make the correct judgements.  There may be someone that is inflexible or uncaring or just in a hurry to get the boxes checked. Bureaucracy at its best.

This is not good.