It’s the start of another week, filled with potential, and also with work deadlines and expectations of all sorts. It’s easy to make good decisions when everything is clear, but what happens when issues are not spelt out in black and white? What kind of decisions will we make when we are under pressure? Welcome to critical decision.
You can breathe a sigh of relief now, you tell yourself as you look round your small but adequate office. Fresh from service, you have been offered a job with one of the most prestigious hospitals in town. A place where you are regarded as almost or nearly equivalent to the chief medical director. A lot of your mates are still roaming from city to city looking for jobs and residency posts but you can take the time to look around your plush office and sigh contentedly.
The intercom rings and the receptionist tells you that someone is here to see you.
“She said she’s your cousin,” she says. You wonder what this so-called cousin must want. But then of course it must be the usual thing relatives want when they hear one of theirs has made it. Money.
“Tell her to come in,” you say unenthusiastically..
Amina comes in, looking distraught. There is obviously something on her mind.
“Sit down,” you tell her. You want her to quickly cut to the chase and not waste time telling you her sob stories.
“What’s the matter Amina? You look upset,” you say your face the picture of the perfectly concerned cousin.
Amina hesitates a little then launches into her tale of woe. She lives in the family house with her parents but one of her uncles, father’s brothers who also lives with them has been molesting her over and over again. She is now about two months pregnant. Her parents have sent away from home even though she told them the man responsible for the pregnancy. They do not believe her. She is still a teenager and wants to continue her schooling. She has now come to you for help.
You sigh deeply and look her in the eye.
“What do you want me to do for you, Amina?”
“I know you are a good doctor. I want you to help me remove it.”
You gasp in surprise: “I-I can’t do that. It’s against my professional ethics.”
“But I can’t have this baby. How will I take care of it? And I need to go back to school.” She says desperate. “If you can’t do it for me, you can give me the money to do it.”
You are in a dilemma. She’s family. You have to do something, but what? You can’t do the abortion yourself obviously and giving her the money is just as bad, but if you don’t help her, she may somehow find the money to do it in a place of ill repute. Besides, you know a good, reliable surgeon who has no scruples about such things. He’d do it for you for free as a professional colleague. Taking her in and caring for her yourself is another option, but, you have just started this new job; you are not financially empowered to take on the responsibility of a pregnant teenage mother. Her parents obviously don’t want her home. She does need to go back to school. What will you decide? Two lives hang in the balance.