A Case of a Preventable Error

Topic: Medical Ethics
Words: 296 Pages: 1

Unfortunately, it is apparent that medical personnel may behave improperly towards patients, which sometimes leads to errors. A considerable share of such cases involves drug abusers and other types of addict patients; notably, some specialists show less respect to their needs as compared to those of others.

The case I saw within my employment setting is a bright example of such discrimination. A female patient with a heroin addiction in her medical history had to spend several hours in the hall before she finally got a proper medical aid. In fact, when the doctor came, she was already in a crisis, which had been possible to guess in advance, hence prevent, as she was screaming and twitching progressively. However, according to the nurses, that was her normal behavior, for which reason nobody approached her for a relatively long while.

Although the case may seem outstanding, it is, most probably, quite usual in fact. According to Muncan et al. (2020), “injection drug use stigma has been identified as a major contributor to healthcare disparities for PWID,” where PWID stands for people who inject drugs (p. 1).

The existence of the stigma actually causes occasions similar to the above one since medical personnel do not regard the health of heroin addicts as something valuable. The most apparent solution to the given problem lies in changing protocols so that they set examining patients as soon as possible and involve fines for all kinds of discrimination. The difference between cases where no specialist is free at the moment and where no one is willing to approach the patient should be postulated clearly. I offered this to the administration of the clinic, but I do not know whether any protocol change took place eventually because I do not work there anymore.


Muncan, B., Walters, S. M., Ezell, J., & Ompad, D. C. (2020). “They look at us like junkies”: Influences of drug use stigma on the healthcare engagement of people who inject drugs in New York City. Harm Reduction Journal, 17(1). Web.

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