ETHICAL ISSUES IN HEALTHCARE
Review the following case study and address the questions that follow:
Mark was waiting to be seen by his physician in a multispecialty physician office practice. As Mark was waiting to see his physician, he observed a woman, most likely in her late seventies, limping into the office. She had a large leg brace that ran from her thigh to the calf of her leg. She struggled to push her husband in a wheelchair into the office. She carefully parked the wheelchair and approached the check-in counter. She apologized for being late for her appointment as she was late getting out of another physician’s office. The patient was told, “You are late for your appointment. The office has a fifteen-minute late arrival rule. You will have to reschedule your appointment.” She apologized for being late and said that she did tell the office staff she would be late.
She was then told, “You can wait, and I will try to squeeze you into the schedule, but I don’t know how long you will have to wait.” The lady said, “I don’t want to bother anyone. I will reschedule my appointment.” She was directed around the corner to another desk to reschedule her appointment. Mark got out of his chair, walked over to the scheduler, and said, “I don’t believe this. Her husband is sitting in a wheelchair, and she is having difficulty walking. She can have my appointment, and I can reschedule.” The lady suddenly turned to Mark and gave him a big hug. The scheduler asked, “Who is your physician?” Mark told her, and he was told, “I am sorry, but this lady has a different physician.” The lady, now a bit teary eyed, continued to make her appointment.
- Describe the ethical issues involved in this observation.
- Consider and discuss how this event could have had a more pleasant outcome.