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Should We Pay Irresponsible Mothers to Tie Their Tubes?
By Moira McMahon, Researcher
In Episode 410, "Just Lose It," Emily arrives at St. Ambrose to give birth to yet another child. She's had four children already and is unable to take care of any of them. Pete has helped her get off drugs in the past, only to see her throw her sobriety away. Violet has pulled every string to get her a bed in a shelter only to have her never show up at the door. Emily has burned all of our doctors save for Addison. Addison still believes that Emily can change.
But can she really? Pete and Violet have lost hope and insist that Addison tie Emily's tubes when she does the C-section. Addison refuses to do so without Emily's consent.
Frustrated by Addison's attitude, Pete bribes Emily to tie her tubes. Addison is outraged and says that paying someone is not the same as getting informed consent. Would Emily give up her ability to have children for the rest of her life if she didn't need the money?
While in surgery, Addison does not sterilize Emily. Emily is angry—not because her tubes weren't tied—but because she wants the money she was going to get for the procedure.
When Emily tries to negotiate a five hundred dollar payment for her baby, Addison realizes that Emily has no intention of cleaning up her life. This woman cannot be a mother. Addison gives Emily a thousand dollars to walk away, leaving behind yet another baby who will need a home.
Is Emily really a hopeless case?
Is paying someone to be sterilized right or wrong?
Faced with a patient like Emily, what would YOU do?