The Rest of the Story (or, An Ethical Question)
If you knew that one phone call to an influential person would elevate the level of care received in a health care setting, would you make that phone call?
I delved into that question yesterday when I met with someone on an unrelated matter. After taking care of some business, our conversation detoured into my father’s most recent emergency room experience.
“Call me next time,” he said, and handed me his card. “Keep this in your wallet and call me.”
“I won’t call you,” I told him.
My parents raised me to believe that everyone should be treated in the same way. Everyone deserves dignity. Everyone deserves good care. Everyone.
Yet, despite my saying otherwise in this man’s office, I had, the day before, been searching for his phone number while sitting at Hallway 6 with my father. It turned out the website wouldn’t load because it was down for maintenance.
As my sister would say, “It was a God thing.”
I was ready to throw my principles out the window for a little respect for my father. See how shallow I am?
But God, or happenstance, kept me from calling, and my principles remain mostly intact.
Because, in the midst of this search for someone who could get us out of the hallway situation, Roy the cheerful PCA came along.
“Tell him a story,” he said.
The rest is history — castles in Bosnia and a hallway bed that became a place for storytelling.
Next time, would I make the phone call? I like to think not.
When I sit quietly with my ideals, everything is clear. I am confident in how I would act given a difficult situation.
But in the midst of a trial, idealism and nobleness vanish like smoke. I need safety measures and reminders in place. I need websites to malfunction.
I intentionally did not put that business card in my wallet. I don’t want to be tempted.