Dr. Don Haberdey wanted success more than anything. That’s why he became a doctor. He would do anything to afford the outward show of prosperity. It wasn’t the wealth he wanted … it was the respect.
As he was growing up, his father would belittle and berate him, crushing his self-image, causing him to feel awkward and to stutter, which increased his father’s embarrassment. Throughout college he studied hard to make good grades so he could show his father that he had worth. But his father wasn’t impressed. “Anybody can get a degree. They’re a dime a dozen” his father smirked.
It became a life long quest for Don to win his father’s approval. It would have been a good thing if he had looked within himself for the approval he desperately needed. But he believed if he ever attained his father’s favor, he could stop trying to appease him.
After graduating medical school, he interned at the local hospital and then set up practice in a little office downtown.
Don had three things working against him; he hated being a doctor, his father’s approval was never attainable and the city he lived in was over staffed with doctors already. This made him totally miserable.
He didn’t have many patients starting out and his bills were pilling up. His father didn’t help either walking around with a smile on his face like saying without words, “I told you so”.
A prescription drug company executive came by his office one morning and gave him a lot of free medications to hand out to his patients in hopes of getting new orders. He also showed Dr. Haberdey a new drug that was just released on the market that was suppose to heal most infections. It was rubber stamped by the FDA without any trials or studies. Since most major drug companies had an executive on the board of the Food and Drug Administration, the government was not as concerned with the publics health as much as making the cash register ring for the drug companies which was repayment for campaign contributions during the election.
Dr. Haberdey was concerned about the lack of safety measures for the new drug, but didn’t say anything to the drug company executive. As part of the promotion, the drug company would give a monetary inducement (kick back) to the doctor who prescribes this drug in high volume. Dr. Haberdey decided he was not interested and sent the drug company representative on his way.
At the local hospital, one of the doctors in residency there had to take a leave of absence due to a bout with alcoholism. A little known fact is that most doctors drink heavily to deal with the pressures of the job.
Don was glad for the opportunity to work regular at the hospital, so he could pay the bills that was stacking up at his office. He met several of the doctors at the hospital, who were getting regular monetary inducements from the drug companies and raking in the money.
One day, he needed several thousand dollars quick to pay the mortgage on his expensive home and the lease payment on his office. This would be embarrassing if his financial needs ever leaked out. As he made his rounds at the hospital, he started prescribing the new drug to any patient who needed it and a few who didn’t. In a few days, he received a check for $2,500.00. The drug company wanted to hook him with the money, knowing they could make hundreds of thousands of dollars off him over the coming years.
Don couldn’t have been happier. He paid up his house and office payments, cleared up some bills and had a little left over to take his parents to a nice restaurant. After the meal his father told him something that took him completely by surprise. His father said, “Well, I guess you prove me wrong. You are making a success of yourself”.
Don could not have been more stunned than if you knocked him out of his seat.
The next day, he kicked up the pace and started doubling his prescription writing for this new drug, even for patients, who had no need for it whatsoever. Since the patients took whatever medications the nurses would bring them, there was very little resistance to his increased prescription writing.
Later in the day, Mrs. Harwood one of his patients at the hospital went into shock and died for no apparent reason. Her husband expected her home in a few days and was devastated to find out she was coming home. Another patient, John Tildale also died unexpectantly to the grief of his parents. Don knew they were both on the new drug he had just prescribed for them, but didn’t want to believe that it was the drug that caused their deaths.
Don called the drug company about the sudden deaths and they reassured him that it may just have been a bad batch and they were sending him replacements. “Nothing to be alarmed about”, they told him.
Along with the new batch was another check for the sum of $2,000.00. Well, the money was great and he wanted to believe the drug company, because he didn’t want to give up this sideline money.
The third day he wrote even more prescriptions, as if he was taken over by the lust for money and success. When he went home for the day, nothing further had happened to any of his other patients and so that was good news.
On the way home, a tractor-trailer accidentally scrapped the side of his BMW and caused him to crash into the side railing. The paramedics were called and they rushed him to the same hospital he had just come from and took him into the emergency room. He had a slight concussion and a broke rib, but no major injuries. They kept him over night for observation.
When he woke up the next day, he was bruised but felt better. His doctor walked in as he woke up and asked how he felt. Don said fine and wondered when he could be released. His doctor said you can go home now. See you in a few days.
Don got dressed and glanced at the clipboard on the foot of his bed with his chart and medical information. Out of habit he scanned over it and noticed he was given four doses of that new prescription drug, he had been prescribing to his patients. Well he brushed it off saying to himself, “I guess his doctor was racking up the monetary inducements too.
When he got to his car which was damaged from the wreck, but still drivable, he noticed he didn’t feel well. He sat in his car for a few minutes … and died! But the good thing about it was … he died a success … sort of.
These spiritual stories were written by Mark Edgemon who has been writing for 30 years. He writes and publishes short stories, articles, poetry and scripts as well as, produces audio comedy productions for over 700 radio stations nationwide.