Sunday, May 20, 2012

Have You Compromised Yourself?

It took only a moment to convince himself that it was no big deal.  If he used a black ball point pen he could change the two into a three.  This would give him just enough vicodin to calm the ache is his ankle, and still have a few left over for his thirtieth birthday party.  Or maybe he would sell some to the kid down the street.  He could always use the extra money.  If any hesitation existed, it was gone before he got up to search the desk for a pen.  Who would know anyway?

It took only a moment to convince himself it was no big deal.  No one could blame him for ordering the EKG.  It wasn't exactly standard practice, but he had seen other physicians do it before.  Anyway, if his numbers didn't increase soon, there would be no office left.  The bills were piling up faster then medicare could cut checks.  With the economy slumping, the traffic in and out of the exam room had fallen off precipitously.  If any hesitation existed, it was gone before he placed the chit on the super bill.  His patient was waiting.

It took only a moment to convince herself that it was no big deal.  Of course she had noticed that a disproportionate number of his catheterizations resulted in interventions.  But he was a rainmaker, and as CEO of the hospital she could hardly afford to lose him.  The budget was tight and the board was constantly on her back.  It would be ill advised to alienate one of the biggest revenue generators.  If any hesitation existed, it was gone before she signed off on the pseudoinvestigation that found no wrong doing. 

It took only a moment to convince himself that it was no big deal.  Word had come down from the nose bleeds that too many claims were getting through.  Deny first and ask questions later.  The secret motto was whispered with winks and nods during training all those years ago.  At first he tried to resist, but he was all to aware of which colleagues were getting promotions.  If he wanted to move up in the world he had to dance the dance.  If any hesitation existed, it was gone by the time he rubber stamped the pages with the word "DENIAL" glaring back at him in all caps. 

It took only a moment to convince himself that it was no big deal.  Without the promised lobbyist money, there was no way he would have enough to win his reelection.  So he would have to vote against his conscience on one medicare bill.  What was the big deal?  He had no doubt that it would eventually be overturned anyway.  If any hesitation existed, it was gone by the time he closed the draft of the proposed bill after only reading the first page.

It only takes a moment to compromise oneself.  But it's happening at all levels.  It's time we stopped pointing fingers.

And took a look at the reflection in the mirror.


Anonymous said...

All good points, but too melodramatically presented. The real issue is: do we call these people corrupt? Should they not be disciplined sternly? Fired in some cases? Aren't their acts called felonies? Shouldn't their licenses be pulled?

How many rotten people like this are there out there? I think they are legion. If so, should we let, "well, everybody's doing it" rule the day? I think not.

Physicians doing these things should not be allowed to practice and they should be prosecuted for criminal violations. That goes for the pts and administrators who act up, too.

Thanks, Dr. John, for leading me to read this tripe with no punchline.

ECG Interpretation said...

My view differs from Anonymous - in that I don't think it is always so simple (or black and white) to flush out all of the sometimes very fine lines distinguishing between what is "appropriate" - vs what constitutes "compromising oneself" ...

I do not view this excellently written essay as "melodrama" - but rather as a truly scary testimonial to what I also perceive as a sadly evolving paradigm on at least some level of our current world in which we live. I think it sad.

I like to think of myself as one who does not "compromise" personal values - but this essay clearly made me STOP and ponder. I felt what is written often while working within the health care system ...

Affib Rider said...

As I see it, these are just other examples of the decline in our societies conscience and ability to tell the truth. A man / woman has nothing of greater value than the truth. However it is quickly thrown aside in favor of financial gain or the perpetuation of position. Integrity should always be a key component in the decisions we make, weather they affect only ourselves, or most importantly the lives of others.