Woman Having Asthma Attack Denied Meds Over $1 (and Change)

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by madanthonywayne, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Approximately forty-five years ago--if I remember the date more-or-less correctly--people did the same thing in America. That was when our government, in its infinite wisdom and guided in its search for truth by tremendous election campaign contributions from people whose only motivation was philanthropy, decided that it was perfectly reasonable to allow attorneys to advertise. It's been all downhill since then. "Litigious society" is one of the most often-used sound-bites for describing contemporary America. If something goes wrong, it's never bad luck, it absolutely has to be somebody else's fault, and by the goddess we're going to find him and make him pay for it--while the lawyers on both sides of the case get rich.
    If my wife sees an unsupervised child lying on the sidewalk in obvious medical distress, and as a Good Samaritan she uses her medical knowledge (not a doctor but she worked in hospitals for decades) to help while the paramedics are coming because no one else around is offering to, and the child dies, she will be prosecuted for causing or at least contributing to his death--or maybe just child abuse, which is a much worse crime to have on your record.

    Believe me, no one's willing to help anybody anymore, because of America's surplus of lawyers.
    Perhaps, but you've misanalyzed it and I think it's important to understand the phenomenon better. It's not because we're evil people. It's because we're surrounded by evil lawyers.
     
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  3. superstring01 Moderator

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    I was under the impression that the various collections of "good Samaritan" laws covered such instances for non-health industry workers.

    I know I gave first aid to a man (who eventually died) because of a heart attack when I worked at Walmart. Not only did I not hear a word about it later on from his family, but I (and two others) were recognized for what we did. Similar experiences with exploding "vacuum sealed" bags of tuna with botulism, seizures, cuts, trips, and other sundry incidents.

    Having worked at the two big discount retailers (with pharmacies inside): Walmart & Target, I can assure you that we regularly--at the company's behest--pulled product off the shelves to help customers. It's bad press to let a customer die on the property over issues concerning later lawsuits and product ownership. Surprisingly enough (or perhaps not), the biggest reason for pulling product off the shelf: asthma attacks. Every day, practically.

    All we did is run the the pharmacy, told the pharmacist to give us an "emergency" inhaler (a very small one) and ran it out to the--usually--kid or older person. Same thing for cuts, bruises or whatever. As a manager I gave the house away. I figured that I wasn't going to get fired for helping someone in need and it surly wasn't going to hurt my paycheck.

    ~String
     
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  5. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    They vary a lot by jurisdiction, between "no protection at all" to "reasonable protection." There is no universal, federal protection for Good Samaritans in the US, and most of the protections that do exist have exceptions for consent, imminent harm, etc. I doubt that more than a tiny fraction of the population are confident in their knowledge of what exact protections they do and do not have in a given jurisdiction, and that uncertainty is itself a huge disincentive for Good Samaritans.

    Moreover, none of them prevent you from being sued. They only prevent you from being sued successfully. But as many already know, the fact of having to defend yourself from a lawsuit in the first place (especially one with significant backing) can itself be more than enough punishment to deter would-be helpers. There's no shortage of cases in which people have won the battle and lost the war, in the sense of the costs of successful defense being crippling on their own.
     
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  7. superstring01 Moderator

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    Sumbich.

    Well, that's pretty insane.

    And people wonder why other people walk by and do nothing to help.

    ~String
     
  8. John99 Banned Banned

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    Yes, i would. If it was right around the corner because i can run fast and by the time it took the other way didnt help but then the person made it through anyway. But then he may REALLY have not lived around the corner. How far can they have walked though, if a person has Asthma to get to the eating establsihment? Also, the first thing most people do is call on their cell phone an emergency number.
     
  9. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

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    John:

    We really don't know how far away the guy lived from there..

    And as to your query regarding how far an asthmatic can walk?... As far as any other person can.. Attacks are random.

    And yes, the ambulance, was called and on the way already..

    And most likely arrived faster, than he could've gone home and back.
     
  10. John99 Banned Banned

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    It says in the article he said he "lives right around the corner" but many people say that and actually live further. Theres no way i would let $1 or even $20 stop me from helping someone in a situation like that...But we cant render a decision based on the information we have.
     
  11. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

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    I fully agree with you here..

    It's all hearsay. I'm sure more details will come out later.
     
  12. John99 Banned Banned

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    People react differently to stress too. A few week ago someone was choking on a piece of hard cheese and people all around him and he was turning red so i just walked up and did a heimlich two or three times and the chees flew right out. I stayed a few feet away for awhile and he was fine so i walked away. He didnt even say anything to me. I thought it was funny but i loved the way the cheese flew for a few feet.
     
  13. John99 Banned Banned

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    Then people came around me and said "you saved that guys life". It was very easy though, i just thrust underneath his rib cage from behind. One time...not hard enough, two times, and i knew i could get it out so the third time i gave a fast thrust in and up and he made a noise like poooofffff...and out came the cheese.
     
  14. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

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    You're actually lucky that you weren't hit with a lawsuit..

    I'm a cop now. (And have to help whenever I can) But, several years ago, I was in the Navy... I was a medic..

    One day while shopping I saw a guy just collapse on the floor.. He wasn't breathing.. I yelled to an employee to call the ambulance. I meanwhile gave CPR..

    The ambulance finally arrived, and he pulled thru... Shortly after this, I was hit with a lawsuit.. I had broken 1 of his ribs in my attempt to save his life... It was dismissed. However, why would anyone want to get involved after that?
     
  15. John99 Banned Banned

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    I know about the lawsuit. The guy was turning red and couldnt breath at all, making hacking noises and pointing to his mouth. He was a VERY big guy so i wasnt too worried about breaking any ribs though.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  16. WillNever Valued Senior Member

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    2,554
    In New York, where I live, you are almost fully protected from being held liable in cases where you act in emergency situations.

    As well, if you are an RN (as I am) or a physician, then you are granted greater protection and in some places, depending on the nurse practice act in that state, we are required by law to act in such situations.
     
  17. Moran Registered Senior Member

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    I just want to know. How much profit does the pharmacy make from selling one canister of inhaler? A dime? A few cents? Let's not moraly crucify a guy who has to pay all manners of taxes plus the rent!
     
  18. krazedkat IQ of "Highly Gifted"-"Genius" Registered Senior Member

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    If someone's life is at stake you give them the damn inhaler. It doesn't matter how much they can pay, as long as you can help them live. Have we really lost our way this much?
     
  19. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting that there is no follow up to this story at all.

    Seems really odd that even if he was a stickler for payment that he wouldn't take the $20 and the wallet or cell phone as collateral while she stayed and he ran around the corner to get the $1.50.

    One point of clarification, a number of posters said an ambulance was called, but the article doesn't say that. It says "Jack said. "I didn't know if an ambulance would get there on time".

    Indeed, he remembered he had a paramedic friend nearby and apparently either waited for him to come to them or walked there.

    Which makes me wonder about this "lying on the floor" description.

    How did she get from lying on the floor to waiting for this guy to show up or walking to his friends house?

    Seems if it was as bad as they claimed it to be, and they couldn't get medicine, that using the cell phone they had they would have called 911.

    But apparently that is not how it transpired, the reason given is she said she has bad insurance and an ambulance would cost her $1,500, which makes me think that the attack wasn't that bad, but then I have never had Asthma, so don't know squat about asthma attacks.

    Arthur
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Tangent from another thread, because it's obvious here and the lawyer bashing greed bashing seems to be overlooking some important actual motives involved:
    The common factor, the "significant backing" that forces even unlikely lawsuits, the desperation and coercion that seem far more often involved than greed (who do these lawsuit filers expect to collect huge sums from?), is the US system of private medical insurance.

    To observe, from above example: If you are someone who has been saved from death by cardiac arrest at the cost of a broken rib, finding a lawyer and filing a lawsuit against an otherwise commendable stranger whose financial circumstances you don't even know (for what? the temporary discomfort of rib-healing?) is an odd and unmotivated act - and few lawyers would take on such an unlikely source of significant payment, all else being equal; of course it's likely to be simply dismissed, and even countersuit is possible if the target has enough money to be worth it in the first place - or their own, relevant insurance, from a company with its own lawyers.

    If an insurance company is involved, that's what their retainer-paid lawyers are for - tapping all possible sources of payment for medical care. The dismissal rate is just a calculated expense of an overall profitable strategy. If you are a patient whose insurance coverage depends on you having made good faith efforts to cooperate in such tapping (and you are, if you have private insurance), you are faced with significant coercion.

    And so forth. Hence, in large part: the lawyers, the hassle, the risk, and the underlying motive of damaging, even crushing, personal cost.

    People living in countries with First World medical care don't generally have things like "insurance screwup" and "bad insurance" and "dollar short" experiences - or the ballooning of medical costs and army of lawyers such circumstances inevitably bring. The ethical situation here is not solely a personal or immediate situational one, nor are the personal character flaws of others (even lawyers) the only significant issue.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  21. Moran Registered Senior Member

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    Medical Legal issue

    When I was a Medical Assistant (PhysicianAssistant) intern working in casualty, I gave CPR to a huge guy (200 pounds thereabout) who unfortunately didn't make it. When presenting the case to my Consultant, I was asked if I broke any rib(s) and I answered in the negative. I was told right on my face that I did absolutely nothing to help the poor guy. Apparently a patient in need of CPR should either recover or failing that at least have a broken rib. That's the only evidence of resuscitation.

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  22. Cowboy My Aim Is True Valued Senior Member

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    If your life is at risk by asthma, you should bring your inhaler with you everywhere you go.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Did I already mention that the cause of this problem is America's lawyer glut? And that they're allowed to advertise? Every taxicab has a little billboard on the back telling people, essentially, that anything that goes wrong in their life is somebody else's fault, and they can sue for damages.
    Until your boss fires you for giving away merchandise and you can't get another job because that is on your record and follows you around forever.
    Mine aren't as bad as these, but they can leave me gasping for air for a couple of hours, making it impossible to work or sleep, and even difficult to eat. A really bad one can kill you.
    We all make stupid mistakes, sometimes really big ones. My asthma is allergy-induced and therefore seasonal, and I have misjudged the change of the seasons.
     

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