Remember this name: Dr. Kenneth Yaw. Recently, he and his family have been in the news in Pittsburgh and also probably in New Mexico, the scene of the worst parts of the crime. I’m not sure if this was national news or not, but because he practiced medicine at UPMC and lived in the upscale suburb of Fox Chapel, it was news here.
Here’s a link to the story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08230/904934-455.stm. Here’s another one; http://www.pittsburghpost-gazette.com/pg/08226/903798-85.stm
If you read the article you will see that Kenneth Yaw’s first wife, Maureen, was a wonderful woman who raised 10 well-adjusted children who had many friends and were involved in many activities in the community. When she died of breast cancer, that was the end of her happy family. Without Maureen, the real Kenneth came to the surface.
Let me tell you how I know about the real Kenneth. When we became involved with him, he was a surgeon at UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.) Our son had a painful lump on his hand, and Dr. Yaw performed the biopsy that discovered a rare bone cancer. The options were, removal of the bone and associated finger plus chemotherapy, or a combination of radiation and chemotherapy. Our son, being 17 years old, determined that he wanted to try to keep the finger, so he opted for radiation and chemo.
That did not sit well with Dr. Yaw, and he called us repeatedly to insist that our son should have the surgery. We told him that he was under the care of an oncologist that we trusted, and that he had opted for the non-surgical treatment. At one point, I indicated that our son had made his own decision on this, and we stood by his choice. His reaction was, in hindsight, exactly what you would expect. He could not believe that we were allowing a teenager to be involved in his own care.
Eventually we changed oncologists (to the doctor who would later treat Mario Lemieux for his Hodgkins lymphoma) but this new doctor agreed with our son’s choice of treatment, too. Since our son is cancer-free for over 15 years now, we feel that it was the best option.
But that was not the end of Dr. Yaw. What he did next will inform you as to his basic character. He sent us a letter that said if we did not make our son have the surgery, we were negligent as parents. Then he proceeded to say that our son would probably DIE, and that it would be our fault. I believe he also implied that he would turn us in to the authorities (probably child welfare services) if we didn’t respond to him. Imagine receiving such a letter, when you are in the midst of a terrible crisis, where your child is facing a life-threatening illness. Imagine using the word “die” in such a letter. I rarely cry, but this letter made me so angry that I think I may have had what they now call a panic attack. I wept and shook uncontrollably.
Yaw is one of the few people that I believe can be called evil – he lacks empathy, thinks he is always right, and doesn’t care about the effects of his actions. I’m pretty sure he’s what the mental health professionals call a sociopath; no conscience. Karma in this lifetime has caught up with him. It will not change who or what he is, but at least the remaining children are free of him.