Ethics and the Lazy: the FP Version
The Angry Pharmacist has another awesome post, this time about pharmacists absorbing the cost of medications for lazy medicaid patients, because the kids need the medicine; it's the right thing to do. I applaud his altruism. Granted he's only talking about $18. I wonder what he would have done in my position:
A teen mom who had moved away from home called me because she was worried about blood coming from her baby's ear. I told her there was nothing I could do over the phone; she said she didn't have a ride; I said to call me back if she found one.
She didn't call; she just walked in -- an hour after closing time. The staff had left; I saw her anyway. She said she had noticed the bleeding the day before and that it had stopped by now. There was a tiny bit of dried blood from a scratch in the ear canal; the tympanic membrane was intact. The baby was fine.
Here's the thing, though: the kid was five months old and the only immunizations she'd received were the first two hepatitis B shots; the first in the hospital and the second from me at one month of age. And I still hadn't been paid for that visit or for the shot. She didn't have insurance and didn't seem to realize there was such a thing as Medicaid, or even that her baby needed shots despite the fact that I had told her multiple times during the pregnancy and during the month she'd brought the baby to me (while living with her mother.) Her own mother had washed her hands of them; apparently the baby's father was in jail for murder; I'm pretty sure there were some issues of diminished intellect, possibly borderline MR. Whatever; I was faced with a hypoimmunized infant, a fridge that held the four shots she needed, and the near certainty that I'd never see a dime if I administered them.
It would have cost me $200. The right thing to do was to give the shots.
God help me: I didn't do it.
I told her about the Well Baby Clinic at the Health Department; I gave her their phone number and tried to explain how important it was. I have no idea if she followed through or not.
So what do you think?