Ethics Essay

(Scene 1) Mr. Jacob, a PTA, has just finished his treatment session with three year old Chloe. Chloe’s mother Mrs. Salata has been immensely happy with the progress Chloe has made and the compassion Mr. Jacob has shown her family from the beginning of the arduous process of Physical Therapy.

Mrs. Salata (handing Mr. Jacob a pale blue envelope): “Mr. Jacob, you have been wonderful these past few months. Chloe adores you and has made such wonderful progress. I will admit, when we realized Chloe would need to have therapy my hopes for Chloe leading a normal life….

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Well, let’s just say I was worried. Here is a little thank you from our family to you.”

Mr. Jacob takes the envelope.

Mr. Jacob: “Thank you Mrs. Salata. Chloe is a pleasure to work with. With her feisty personality, I don’t see anything that will hold her back in life.”

Mr. Jacob opens the envelope to read the card inside.

As he opens the card a crisp $100 dollar bill falls to the floor. Mr. Jacob hesitates. He knows it is unethical to receive monetary gifts from clients. The Standard Practice Act clearly states in section 7B.”Physical therapist assistants shall not accept gifts or other considerations that influence or give an appearance of influencing their decisions.”

As Mr. Jacob reaches down to pick up the money he begins to contemplate; “Why is Mrs. Salata giving me such a generous gift? The Salata’s are not particularly well off. Does she think I can magically fix Chloe? Chloe has been doing well and reaching the goals set for her, but she still has a lot of hards work ahead of her and even then there is no guarantee she won’t need an assistive device when she is older. Did I just say that nothing will hold Chloe back and Standard Practice Act 4A. states, ‘Physical therapist assistants shall provide truthful, accurate, and relevant information and shall not make misleading representations.’ Surely, Mrs. Salata knew I was just being encouraging. Maybe I have been to optimistic these past few months and skewed the realistic outcomes for Chloe.

Mr. Jacob (staring at the bill held loosely in his hand): “Mrs. Salata, I don’t know what to say. This is a very generous gift. I’m sorry, but I can not accept this.”

Mrs. Salata: “Why not? You have definitely earned it! I don’t know where we would be if it wasn’t for you.”

Mr. Jacob: “Mrs. Salata, I am sorry, but I can not accept this and I feel like I may have lead you to believe that I am some kind of miracle worker. Chloe has been doing well, but there is still a lot more work to be done. I am afraid I haven’t properly prepared you for the possibility Chloe may need to use an assistive device for the rest of her life.”

Mrs. Salata (looking aghast): “I know that. And I’ve had to accept that fact. You’ve helped me to see and find comfort and joy in the small accomplishments Chloe has made. It’s been difficult, I don’t really have anyone to talk to about it except when we see you. Please, just accept the money and say, “Thank you.”

Mr. Jacob (feeling relieved and touched): “Mrs. Salata, I’m sorry that I jumped to the wrong conclusion. Of course this is hard on you. There is a support group that meets here at Centerstone on Tuesdays. I can get you the information if you’d like. I know that they offer child care free during the meetings. We are also having a Fundraiser in the Spring. A lot of our clients come with their families. The proceeds go back into our organization to help families that can not afford services. I don’t want to imply that your gift isn’t appreciated, but I can not accept it. (He hands the money back to Mrs. Salata) Use this to get something nice for yourself. I know how hard it can be to have a child with special needs. But self care is important. If you want to come to the Fundraiser in the Spring, I’ll be volunteering at the pie throwing booth. You can let Chloe throw a pie in my face. I think she would find that funny.”

Mrs. Salata (chuckling): “Yes, I think she would and I think I would like some more information on that support group. It might be something to look into.”

They say their goodbyes and Mr. Jacob returns to his desk and reflects on what had just happened. Did he make the right decisions?

Exit Scene

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