Let me note, word carriers are influenced by who they are talking to. Patients – probably due to sepsis-related delirium or some neurological disease – may not be able to control their speech; People with Tourette-Syndrome-related coprolaria should not be denied treatment because their words make physicians uncomfortable. And your patient? There were problems with the use of its content and the language used which is increasingly scandalous for the user. He had no control over the physicians who went to him and those under whom he was subject. One indication of his lack of condition is that your hospital’s risk managers have clearly decided that the organization can safely evict him without being responsible for the outcome. Although they did not want to impose a penalty that could amount to the death penalty, risk managers effectively put the hospital ahead of the patient.
The demands of the doctors on duty. During a war, a doctor may be responsible for saving the life of a wounded enemy soldier, even if the soldier killed one of the doctor’s friends. Basic clinical requirements – developed, collectively, across generations – should not be rushed. Physicians have a responsibility to take care of patients, even the worst. And the more serious the potential consequences of refusing care, the greater the burden they should be willing to accept.
My elderly mother started talking to a romance scammer on social media a few months ago. He claims that he is building a bridge in South America and has asked for money to support the project. He gave her thousands of dollars – all her savings. Given the complex stories he has told me, I have no doubt that this guy is cheating on him and he and I have struggled to keep talking. I love him, and it really bothers me that this guy cheated on her money! Here’s the thing, though. She talks to him twice a day via internet chat and it makes her really happy! She’s the happiest I’ve seen in a long time. She had few friends in her life as well as a frustrating romantic partner, and this is the one she really likes to talk to. Her savings are gone, and I think she will continue to use her Social Security and pension income to pay her bills. I mean, I don’t think he’s going to give this guy too much money in the future. Can I continue to try to persuade my mom to stop talking to this guy, because I think the “relationship” could end when the flow of money stops and she may feel very sorry for the end? Would I be worried about his physical safety if he stopped paying this guy? Our arguments are really bad, and he certainly likes me to stop talking about it. Names have been withheld
There are many Romance scams have been published, including by law enforcement agencies, and I don’t see that, under normal circumstances, its victims are in physical danger – scammers often live in another hemisphere, for one thing. (You can contact the FBI if you want more guidance.) But the financial and emotional devastation is very real. Once the money is off, naturally, the scammers go ahead. There will be heartbreak up front for your mom.
You have done what you can. You have repeatedly pointed out the problem; You warned him that the rewards of his relationship were based on lies, and you undoubtedly told him about the spread of such scandals. She doesn’t want to talk about it. At the moment, I can’t see what you have to do but let him stay. As long as your mother is qualified, it is up to her to manage this man. There is a small consolation here that, as you have pointed out, the only ongoing risk is the continued loss of a relatively small amount of money and enough for its survival. It hurts to see someone of your choice being exploited, but you can’t manage his life for him.
To submit a question: send an email to [email protected]; Or mail to The Ethicist, The New York Times Magazine, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018. (Include one-day phone number.) Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at NYU. His books include “Cosmopolitanism,” “The Honor Code” and “The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity.”