Remember “Law & Order”? They used to do fictionalized cases based on real life events. We are going to play that today because I am too lazy to find the actual facts of recent events…

Here’s the hypothetical:

Setting: A vaccine distribution center

Time: 10pm

Situation: 6 doses of the highly coveted COVID 19 vaccine are set to expire at midnight- in two hours.

Doctor in charge of lab chooses to vaccinate six people, including his wife because he doesn’t want the vaccine to expire unused.

Doctor is fired from his job and arrested for stealing the vaccine and faces charges.

What do you think?

Is the Doctor a villain or a hero?

When my family discussed this yesterday, my daughter just looked at me: “We can sit here all day and discuss what’s legal vs what’s ethical…”

My Husband’s contribution: “Well- how do we know he didn’t hold back vaccines specifically so he could vaccinate his wife?”

So, give me all your thoughts on this ripped from the headlines story:

68 thoughts on “Legal or Ethical?

  1. Mmmm, so many possibilities to add here. But are you talking about the vaccine (which was being transported from point a to point b)that got stuck in traffic a few weeks ago (in Idaho, I think?) and the nurses went out and vaccinated everyone who got stuck in traffic too?
    If not, then, well, I still don’t know what to say haha.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. No. Texas case last week. This is pretty much what happened, but I didn’t want to look too hard at the facts of the case. I figured I would lay this out as a hypothetical

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just read about this again today and I’m writing this comment as The Today Show is talking about doses going to waste. I think it is ridiculous that we are throwing doses away rather than giving them to the “wrong” people. This system is stupid.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Did this also happen in Texas? I remember reading how a vaccination team got stuck in a snow storm in Oregon. They went car to car vaccinating others stuck in the same snow storm to to waste the vaccine. Personally, the covid vaccine is in such high demand that I believe that it is better to use the vaccine than to waste it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. A shot in an arm..ANY ARM..ultimately helps us all. A shot in the trash can helps no one. Our house is on fire.. we can argue about muddy shoe prints on the carpet later..if the carpet’s still there.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. We had this argument in the UK, as some places were throwing vaccine away at the end of the day. That should be the crime.

    The daughter of a friend of mine had a call from a friend of hers at the local fire station – firemen had just been done. They had some spare doses, would her and her boyfriend like them? They said yes. I think there were more deserving people about, but I’d rather it was used than wasted, even if they aren’t the best people for it.

    Now, to cut to the chase, would I accept it if I was offered some leftover vaccine? Yes. I’d not want to jump the queue unfairly but if they have some left over, I’m in.

    As for the doctor – theer are worse crimes than vaccinating your wife out of turn. If he’s been working with covid all year he deserves a break.

    If, on the other hand, he was doing it in an organised manner for friends, or doing it for money then the full weight of the law whould be brought to bear.

    As you say, it’s all in the facts…

    Good question.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t like the idea of a vaccine that is in short supply going bad. To me, six more people vaccinated is six more people not going to die of COVID, and six less people to infect others. But I’m practical. The law isn’t always practical in its application

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Doctors save lives. It’s ridiculous to think a doctor would steal vaccines. And if health care workers have extra vaccines and don’t want them to go to waste then they are heroes in giving them to other people.. These vaccines are precious and should never be left to spoil. That is a real thing.

    Here are two REAL scenarios that happened with the vaccine.. I live in a 55 and over condo community in Florida. My city came to my senior community and had us sign up (showing community Id’s and our driver’s license to make sure we were really 65 or older)for vaccines. My paperwork included a date and time and also stated my second dose would be 21 days later at that same time and date or we wouldn’t get the dose. I actually called to see if I could change my second dose day and they said no because that day and time was the only day they would have my vaccine. Each dose was allotted a specific day and time slot. If you missed it you couldn’t get it. The sign up time was limited and was first come first serve. I knew going in that I had better make it to my appointment. If not I wouldn’t get my second shot. So shots were in demand and they had a list of people who didn’t make the cut. but who left their phone numbers if a place opened up.

    Here’s another real life situation that happened to my old college roommate, who lives in NYC. She was signed up to get her vaccines, but two weeks in the future. She then got a call from a friend who was at the inoculation center and they had a certain amount of doses left over. I know this because she and I were chatting on the phone when it happened. Her other friend asked if she could make it over there in time because if she could, then she could have the shot that day. She told me about it, got off the phone, and rushed the heck over and got her shot in the nick of time. Someone else missed their first shot and she wound up taking that person’s place. She will get her second dose three weeks on the same date and time at the same place. She told me The place in NYC had all the people currently sitting and waiting after their shot, (they make you wait a half hour in case of side affects) they had those folks call people so none of the left over shots went to waste. This is happening all over the country.

    So it is standard procedure to use up doses. If they can’t find anyone in that age bracket then so what if they called other people to take the shot. A life is a life. And the shots are time sensitive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I think that this doctor was fired and arrested is ludicrous. But…he did break the law. Now, if I was in the jury I’d stand up and applaud him. But I thought I’d toss this around


  7. In a lab situation, the people would likely have an appointment at a specific time. Now, due to identity theft, ID’s are checked carefully. The process goes something like, you arrive, answer Covid related questions, have your ID validated, then go to a room where you wait for a shot. So, if the wife wasn’t scheduled, I’m afraid our poor doctor friend would be in trouble. Would he be arrested? I’m too lazy to research the pertinent laws, if any exist yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also…your scenario is the perfect world. My mother in law was due for second shot but was in the hospital getting an unexpected partial hip replacement. Who got her shot? Also, I know of people who showed up at clinics at the end of the day and got vaccinated because there were leftovers. So…reality sneaks in again

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you can go back up in the comments, read Gen X traveler. She’s a retired nurse now volunteering. I get that where you’re getting it is doing this. But it’s not like that in other places. I know in NY they are beginning to vaccine over 65s at pharmacies and we set up Citifield as a vaccination hub. I know that people in certain states are showing up at closing time and getting vaccinated because I know if people being vaccinated that way. That’s the reality I’ve seen.


      2. I think that’s the anomaly. I agree. I love rules and procedure and all that. I would control every situation if I could. However…nothing can be controlled. So my thought in this is, don’t waste the vaccine. 6 people vaccinated could save 600 lives, given the rate of transmission of the virus. But that’s how I look at it. I realize there are all sorts of other factors, which is why I posed this question. What is “right”? Every thought and opinion on this is valuable as we are going to face it for awhile

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This sounds like the case of the Pakistani doctor I read about yesterday. As I understand it, he made considerable efforts in the time available to find passing strangers for the remaining vaccines selecting anyone with a good & valid reason for receiving it – be that age or underlying health condition. When he was left with only one & could find no other candidates, he vaccinated his wife who has an underlying health condition (heart or pulmonary I don’t recall now). I’m afraid it smacked to me potentially of racism.

    The law can be an ass, but those who apply it can also be massive asses.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think this is one of those things were not knowing all the pieces makes it impossible to say one way or the other. If there were specific protocols in place for handling unused vaccines and those protocols weren’t followed, then absolutely, the person needs to lose their job. If there were no protocols in place, then things get murky. Did the doctor even make an attempt to contact people on the wait list to see if they could make it in time or did he just give them to family and friends without even trying to get them to those in need? The flip side of this is the story of people transporting some of the vaccine and getting stuck in bad weather on the way and giving the vaccines to other stranded motorists. They are now being lauded for making sure those vaccines didn’t go to waste. It really all comes down to the details and if you don’t have those, it is difficult to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I face this dilemma everyday I work. Extra vaccines. People wonder why we have extras. No vaccines where I work are held back. Generally we have extra because people don’t show for their appointment and don’t bother to call or they double or triple book and then want us to give their extra doses to a family member or friend who do not qualify. We also have extra doses if we get more than 10 doses out of a vial. So who should they go to? We have a list of people
    Who could not get an appointment but qualify so that is who we call. But…. picture this, 5:30 pm, dose expires at 6:00, 3 people don’t show, you call the list and no one answers….do you let it go to waste? Do you give it to someone who is 64 1/2? Do you go to the nearby homeless shelter and ask if anyone wants a shot? So many scenarios. The ethics, dilemma, and legalities are there plus the media judgement, people judgement and everyone having an opinion. In the end though, the goal is herd immunity, Do not waste this vaccine!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. No wonder the country is in such trouble. For goodness sake, isn’t the focus to get people vaccinated? Hubby and I got ours last week. I was/am fine. He is having some reaction but he had a reaction from the flu shot so it doesn’t surprise me. Also, he actually had a positive Covid test so perhaps it is because of that. In any case, I know there are a lot of people who want the vaccine and can’t get it. I say none should go to waste.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bottom line is they gotta be used, to waste a dose would be criminal! In the UK where a quarter of the population has now been vaccinated we’ve been told you may get a phone call on any day at anytime and to visit a centre NOW. Can’t mess around with semantics LA, the Doctor did the right thing.

    (I have no doubt there’s ‘dodgy’ things going on, there’ll be bribery theft and queue jumping but that’s human beings for you lol.)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hmmmm. While I don’t condone the behavior, I don’t think the doctor is a villain or a hero. I think like all of us, the doctor made a choice. Maybe not the best choice, yet, who is to really say what the best choice is in any given situation. I’d like to think there was a protocol in place for such a thing, or, at the very least, a process of communication where the doctor isn’t on an island to make such a choice. A tough one, and good question, LA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get the different sides of the story. My thought is: the ultimate goal is to vaccinate everyone. We have a shortage of vaccines. This is 6 less people who will get COVID and 6 less people who will carry it to someone else. To me it’s a win. If the vaccine expires, it doesn’t mean anyone else is getting vaccinated quicker. It just means it will take us that much longer to vaccinate anyone

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, I get that. Super practical, and makes sense. The question we can raise here, as I’m sure someone else has in the comments thread, is when do we draw a line about stepping over one’s ethical duty? Should a doctor not at the very least call and get a second opinion before choosing how the vaccines are used? Don’t know. Have a great week, LA. Looking forward to the Math problem on Friday.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ll be the devil’s advocate. What if his wife died from the vaccine? (It could happen.) Then the case becomes: By giving her the shot that might have been wasted, was he doing something illegal, unethical, or nefarious?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. No vaccine should ever go to waste. In my opinion, the doctor made a tactical error in giving it to his wife, because that made it seem more likely that he had deliberately set it aside. Personally, I doubt he did that, because if it had been deliberate, he would have figured out a way to do it without anyone knowing. Still, I think they way over-reacted to charge him. We have way more important things to worry about!
    A friend’s thirty-something, healthy, daughter was able to get her shot in Nashville last week, because there they allow people to sign up for a lottery for any doses that happen to be left over. You have to be able and willing to show up on a thirty-minute notice, so you have to register for the lottery every day. Her number came up, so she got the shot. Makes sense to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the lottery idea! That’s great! I’m pragmatic above all else. Exponentially, how many people do we save from Covid-19 if we vaccinate one person? While the hierarchy system is wonderful in theory, the goal is to get everyone vaccinated

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I think there should be less focus on the fact that he gave the last dose to his wife and more focus on the fact that something like this shouldn’t go to waste. There were six doses, he gave it to six people. The names and who they are related to is and should be irrelevant…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. While I would never take a vaccine because I have had past issues… I applaud how you took this to a situation of legal VS ethical. That is always important to consider. People also sometimes forget legal is not necessarily lawful. Legalism is a way to make perfectly lawful things have legal consequences. For example fishing is totally lawful but becomes illegal if you don’t have a permit.

    It’s nice to read from someone who considers these things!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I feel like stupid is the new normal. People are not supposed to think for themselves anymore. How crazy for an educated person make a decision not to waste a vaccine in limited supply. That cabin in the woods looks better everyday. Though I would try and be a bit more prepared than the woman in “Land”, but then she went out there to die so…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😉I saw a headline that he was acquitted of charges but I don’t know if he got his job back. Here’s the thing: what he did was illegal and violated the terms of his employment. However, you have to judge whether or not his act was truly criminal. I understand both sides. Though, I’m pro doctor in this case

      Liked by 1 person

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