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cliveandrews

Asking for charity, resenting someone for not providing it

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I’ve posted on this form before about the arthritis I suffer from and how government regulations are destroying the recent innovations that could potentially revolutionize the treatment of the disease.


One such innovation involves adult stem cells that are extracted from a patient's body, cultured in a laboratory to multiply them to greater numbers, and re-injected into an arthritic joint. The cells have been shown to repair the damaged joint and restore the patient’s physical function. In the last 3-4 years, quite a bit of research has piled up demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of the procedure.


Between about 2005 and 2010, a small number of clinics apparently used this therapy freely in the U.S., although there wasn't much research behind it and it didn't receive much attention, so I didn't become aware of it at the time. However, in 2012, shortly after the remarkable results of a study were published in a major medical journal, the FDA won a Federal lawsuit alleging that a patient’s own stem cells are actually "drugs" subject to its regulation, and this decision completely shut down the use and development of the procedure in this country.

 

https://ari.aynrand.org/blog/2012/03/23/fda-versus-stem-cell-therapies

 

The physician whom the FDA targeted in its lawsuit, the man most known for pioneering the use of this therapy, has taken his business overseas to a small island country whose regulators allow it, where he offers it at a far steeper price than what he used to charge for it in the U.S. I recently contacted his company  to inquire about the cost of the procedure. It starts at $17,500 for one joint, and they charge an additional $2000 for every additional one thereafter.

 

The thing is...as far as I can tell, I do not believe there are any additional inputs on his end to treating more than one joint. He simply draws bone marrow and expands the cells to the greatest number possible, which can then be used in as many sites as they are needed. Treating multiple joints is just a matter of moving the needle around from one to another. That he charges $2000 for each additional site is maddening.

 

I would not object to his price scheme under normal cirumstances, as most people only need the treatment in a single joint, or at most a small number. However, my situation is unique since I have arthritis in several dozen joints, and at $2000 each, it is infeasible to treat enough of them to make it worthwhile to treat any. The only way I can do it at all is if he waives that extra $2000 per, or at least greatly reduced it.

 

I am considering paying for a consultation with him to ask him to treat as many joints as possible for a flat rate. In doing so, I am essentially asking for charity care. On one hand, unless I misunderstand the effort and expense required on his part to treat multiple joints, it seems in his interest to take a flat rate as opposed to nothing. However, for reasons I’m unsure of, I still expect him to say no. And even though as an Objectivist, I have no right to resent him for charging for his service or being profit-driven, I find myself doing so anyway. That he could make my life what seems like very little sacrifice on his part, but wouldn't do so, seems awful. I would not hesitate to help someone in my position, and I thought I was as selfish as they come.

 

I'm trying not to confuse my own despair with my evaluation of him. Am I wrong?

Edited by cliveandrews

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You resentment as an emotion reveals your subconscious premises.  To the extent they conflict with what you believe a rational Objectivist should think, you have not fully integrated Objectivism.  Whether THAT is a good or a bad thing you can decide for yourself.

 

I think you need to reframe the issue.  Quite simply this is a negotiation for values which are VERY important to you.  He knows they are important.  He also knows that like all people there are limits to your ability to raise money.

 

Certainly he knows he would not benefit from you if you walk away from the deal because you are simply unable to pay.  He also knows he would not benefit from you if you walk away from the deal because you are not getting enough joint work done to your satisfaction.

 

He also is aware of the number of other patents (possibly waiting in line?) which could simply take your place if you did walk away. He is also aware of the work he could perform on other patient's first joints, while working on your additional joints.   

 

This is the nub of the issue, your additional joints may be lost opportunity cost for him because his time, staff, rooms etc. are being used for your additional joints instead of other patient's first joints.  The $2000 per additional site may be a result of such a calculus.

 

 

Asking for a deal is not asking for charity, it is negotiating.  It is only asking for charity if you expect him to sacrifice.  If it turns out, for example, he is not so busy and loosing your business would mean having his resources idle instead of making him money, then you are not asking for charity, but instead giving him an opportunity to make money. 

 

 

Once you negotiate the best deal you can get, try to think about ways to raise the money which is in your control instead of focusing on the price which is out of your control. 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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". . . it seems in his interest to take a flat rate as opposed to nothing. However, for reasons I’m unsure of, I still expect him to say no. And even though as an Objectivist, I have no right to resent him for charging for his service or being profit-driven, I find myself doing so anyway."

It sounds like you expect him to irrationally cause a lose/lose situation here. That such a belief would result in resenting that doctor makes sense.

". . .unless I misunderstand the effort and expense required on his part to treat multiple joints . . ."

Finding out that, what the additional costs to him are, or if he does take your offer though I bet would make the resentment go away. If it didn't, then there might be some irrational idea behind the emotion.

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