If infants were dying in my post’s housing, the last thing I would want to go to is an informational meeting on all the great new parent education programs offered on base.
But that’s exactly what Fort Bragg officials held last week, according to this story.
In case you haven’t been following this, here’s a little background:
Since 2007, 11 babies living at Fort Bragg have died of unknown causes. Post officials say the rate of infant deaths is in line with national averages, but the cases prompted an independent investigation this summer into housing conditions at the installation.
Now, if I was the post commander or any number of people in charge of child or parent programs on the base I would be desperate to do anything — anything! — to mitigate this issue. Even thinking about this makes me want to cry right this second. I cannot fathom the pain these parents are going through. And I cannot imagine the helplessness post officials must feel in trying to deal with a problem potentially created by something at least originally out of their control — drywall.
But it seems like the answer to something like this would be information — not information about other fairly unrelated programs, but information about what’s going on, including the pending investigation. Instead:
Fort Bragg offers several programs to help young military families keep their babies healthy, Army health care officials told a small crowd of parents Thursday at Womack Army Medical Center.
About 50 people attended the town hall meeting on infant health and safety. The forum was organized in response to publicity surrounding several unexplained infant deaths on post, officials said, and in an effort to inform soldiers and their families about the bevy of new parent educational programs offered through the hospital.
The topic [of the infant deaths] was breached during the forum, but only briefly. Participants of the forum Thursday were instructed not to ask questions about the ongoing investigation.
This just seems like insult added to injury.
In related news, another story over the weekend revealed that the drywall supplier for the Bragg housing in question is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in Florida. That suit accuses the supplier, National Gypsum, “of manufacturing ‘inherently defective drywall’ shown to emit harmful sulfur gases.” Read the rest of that report here.