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Moral Dilemma #3: The Drummer and the Drug Rep


Need to get up to speed with the first part of the dilemma? Read it here and vote or comment before moving on to The Wrinkle.

Now we’d like to complicate the story just a bit more by telling you what happened next…

The Wrinkle

Kara tells Robert to stay where he is and makes him promise not to do anything to hurt himself. She gets in her car and immediately heads over to Robert’s apartment. While in the car she decides that she will ask one of the doctors she knows to see Robert and — if the physician believes Robert needs medication — she will provide the samples.

Robert is clearly glad to see her when she arrives. Kara offers to take him to the emergency room but Robert tells her that he feels better now that she is there. As far as Kara can tell, he does seem calmer and less desperate than he was on the phone but she is uncomfortable leaving him by himself right now. She sits down on his couch and begins to talk with him about what he’s been going through.

The way Robert describes it, his life over the past four years sounds like an emotional roller coaster marked by bouts of anxiety and depression that have occassionally become suicidal. The way he describes his family history, it sounds like his father had real problems with alcohol that led to his early death. In addition, Robert’s mother commited suicide five years ago.

Make your choice here.
What’s the right thing to do?

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  • Take the job but put herself and her company at risk by trying to help Robert anyway
  • Take the job, but back off her offer to help Robert (he seems relatively uninterested now anyway)…she will just try to keep an eye on him
  • Use the new money she makes to buy health insurance for Robert
  • Turn down the job for “personal reasons” and go through with what she promised, hoping she won’t get caught
  • Take the job and tell Robert about her new predicament and hope that he’ll understand and find help elsewhere

None of these sound right to you? Want to qualify one of the above answers?

Time for you to decide. What’s the right thing for Kara to do?

Read the results so far.

Kara tells Robert that she has decided to ask a physician to see him for free and that, if necessary, she will be able to get him medication as well. He tells her that he appreciates the thought and that he’ll think about it, but now that he’s feeling calmer he thinks that maybe he just needed to be with a friend.

Over the next two days Kara continues to try to convince him to take the help she offered. At the end of a particularly long day she is called into her boss’s office where she is told that, due to a shake-up at the company, some positions were now vacant and they were giving her a promotion to be a supervisor for reps spread over a three-state area.

The promotion means a lot more responsibilty as well as a decent pay increase (tied in part to the performance of the reps she will supervise.) It turns out that the “shake-up” at the company that led to this offer was caused by improper promotional practices between some of her company’s reps and doctors. As a way to avoid serious penalties, her company has told the government that they would institute much stricter oversight on their drug reps’ relationships with doctors.

The new job would involve more money, which would enable Kara to pay off her substantial student loans as well as lead a more comfortable life. She may even be able to get out from behind the eight ball financially enough to think long term about getting into medical school herself so she can help people more directly.

The new job would also mean that Kara would be responsible for making sure the drug reps she supervises don’t engage in the kind of practices she promised Robert she would do on his behalf.

Time for you to decide again. What’s the right thing for Kara to do now?

Read the original dilemma.

Already read parts one and two? Read our expert’s analysis of the dilemma and your responses.