What would YOU do?

You have a skill to save lives, ease suffering and prolong life spans by curing illness. You are very good at it. You went to school for 8 to 10 years to learn it and practiced for another 5 years to perfect it. Your skills are in much demand. You are very highly paid and very highly respected in the medical community. You work hard. You have a good staff which you pay well. Even with all of your expenses you are wealthy and live quite well. You constantly are learning more about your profession in order to do a better job.

You have people waiting in line for your services. Other doctors look to you for information and teaching.

Someone who has no money comes to you for help. Your skills can heal this person, but you will never get paid for it. There are others in the same position who turn to you for help. You will never get a penny from them.

What will you do and why?


Well, that depends on a lot more information that you’re not specifying.

Everyone deserves to be able to make a living at what they do, and everyone deserves to have a life away from work.

That being said, and considered understood. I would certainly try to offer my services in the circumstance you describe, I would hope that doctor’s have some sort of legal protection and tax write off for the medical equivalent of legal pro-bono work. Whether the cost could be offset in some way, I would consider myself likely to try and help the inital person you mention, and as many of the others as I could without violating the two things I started this reply with.


Its not really my choice.

I’m assuming you speak of a doctor, and as a doctor I have access to many drugs and machines that could help those who are ill. Unfortunately, none of those drugs
or machines are mine. The government has allowed me to use them so I could help those who can pay (has insurance) for such treatment. If someone who is poor
comes to me with a broken arm and a rash, I might set their bone back in place (risking a malpractice suit) and give them some cash to purchase an over-the-counter
drug to help with their skin problem. I do not, however, have the authority to access supplies from the hospital to assist those who cannot pay. I cannot provide a
cast for the broken bone, nor could I administer antibiotics to cure the rash. I would like to, but I can’t. If I did, I would risk losing my licence. If I lost my licence, I
would then be unable to help the hundreds of other ‘paying’ patients who would have come my way over the years. I would not want to give up my opportunity to
treat hundreds of other patients just to serve 5 or 10 ‘poor’ people (I am in no way implying that I would rather serve those who can pay. I would just like to help as
many as possible, and if it so happens it’s only those who can pay, so be it. Also, it’s not as though my paying patients would be any less deserving of medical
treatment than those who could not pay).

I may not agree with the policies of the hospital, but I will comply.

[digress] wow, what the hell happened with my post? ^above^ [/digress]

Without some kind of income how will I be able to pay my staff? How will I be able to maintain my facilities? How will I be able to buy supplies to treat these people? So, I would try to seek funding from a gov’t or private agency to pay for their treatment. If a particular person needed a treatment that was of very little cost, I would be inclined to help them. Other than that I would aid them in finding somewhere where they could receive treatment, if such a place existed.

Treat the poor patient, and then fire my office manager for putting me in this moral quandry. Then I would hire an older nurse who looks like a battle ax to stand guard over who gets future appointments so I never have to think about just how shitty the world is to have me make these decisions.
Hows THAT for an answer?:slight_smile:

What if you had your own clinic, and all the supplies were therefore yours?

Would prople know what you were doing? Even if you were within your legal rights, giving people free treatment might annoy those who had to pay.

And if you did offer free treatment to poor people, it is almost inevitable that people would try to take advantage of you.

I am aware of doctors who have refused to treat poor people because they could not pay their fees. Most doctors offices here demand payment at time of service. If you don’t have insurance, you stand a real good chance of not getting treatment.

I also know doctors who have set up expensive, luxury clinics where they do specialized surgery on site, like plastic surgeons, eye surgeons, oral surgeons and such. When you walk into these places, you walk into expensive luxury from fine waiting rooms, to pleasant, well trained staff, to actually having readable magazines that don’t deal with golf, sailing, hunting, new homes or stocks.

You can’t pay, they won’t help you.

Those are not doctors, they are exterior re-decorators:)

The Hippocratic Oath demands that a doctor in this case (though the OP could mean an auto mechanic, really) would, indeed, help these people.

In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a doctor in this country who hasn’t or who doesn’t devote a percentage of their time - either now, in their past or in their future or all of the above scenerios - towards helping people by using their skills.

Retired doctors volunteer in clinics. Doctors who are doing residencies make on average at that point in their young careers about as much as a kid in San Salvador sewing up Nike’s if you equate it to hourly salary, and even they will spend time to help out when they can.

And many doctors in between make the time away from their practice to help out at a Planned Parenthood, volunteer in a clinic, or somehow use their expertise for free.

Indcidentally, I am willing to bet that more lawyers than not take on cases pro bono in situations to help out those who cannot afford them usually. I don’t believe that lawyers are bound by an oath to do so, but most find it part of the job.

Yet, we don’t have the same expectations from auto mechanics who also spend many years and lots of their own money and also constantly need to keep learning new things about their profession to be skilled enough to get paid to fix cars. Why not?

Not to pick on auto mechanics here… But why the double standard? You tell me how useful a doctor or lawyer is when your on the stuck side of the side of the road and late for your wedding!

Yer pal,

Ten months, two days, 2 hours, 25 minutes and 15 seconds.
12324 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,540.71.
Extra life saved: 6 weeks, 19 hours, 0 minutes.

See my Sig File FAQ: http://pages.prodigy.net/briank.o/SigFAQ.htm*