Various organizations can be enlisted to help obtain affordable medical care for this patient, although they may only provide a partial solution to the problem or may only be able to help certain patients. Just how far you are willing to go is a matter of personal choice and belief. Nonetheless, given the inconsistent availability of care, the expense of current therapy, and the chronic nature of rheumatic disease, such problems are likely to remain part of the landscape in rheumatic disease care for the foreseeable future. In a previous issue we discussed that even treating a patient with methotrexate without the ability to monitor blood work is problematic (July 2010, p. 1). As is typical of many problems, the solutions are not obvious or easy.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueMay 2011
Also By This Author
Send us Your Case!
If you have comments or questions about this case, or you have a case study that you want to see in “Ethics Forum,” e-mail us at: email@example.com.
What Would You Do?
We would like to hear your decision and analysis of this case. How would you provide medical care to this woman? How far would you go to see that she receives care for her chronic condition? What is the physician’s ethical obligation?
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will publish some of responses in a future “Ethics Forum.”
Dr. Meltzer is assistant professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Dr. MacKenzie is associate professor of clinical medicine and public health at Weill Cornell Medical College, Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Dr. Kitsis is director of bioethics education and a member of the rheumatology division at Albert Einstein College Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y.
- American College of Rheumatology. The Future of Health Care in the United States. February 2009. Available at www.rheumatology.org/advocacy/acr_future_ of_health_care_usa.pdf. Accessed May 2, 2011.
- Schmajuk G, Trivedi AN, Solomon DH, et al. Receipt of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs among patients with rheumatoid arthritis in medicare managed care plans. JAMA. 2011;305:480-486.