I recently read about a woman who won approximately $70 million after an 8 year battle with a major pharmaceutical company. She was a “whistle blower” who reported the major drug company to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for atrocious violations which risked lives, and she got fired. Now, that company is paying the major part of a billion dollars to the government and has issued an apology and expressed the intent to remedy the situation at the manufacturing plant.
It’s too obvious for me to suggest that this reads like a “Law and Order” episode. One wonders why the company didn’t reward her with her own LearJet, and fire lotsa folks at the stated plant as well as in the management ranks who were warned and did nothing to fix the problem. If they’d done that, their stock would have gone up. Instead, all we’ve got is lawsuits that were lost, terrible public relations, a tarnished reputation, and people who were hurt.
An interesting part of the whistleblower issue is how many people turn against the whistleblower because doing the right thing is not their priority. They are more concerned with less meaningful things.
I took a call from a woman not long ago about her sister who is in the hospital giving birth to her second child. The caller was “house sitting” and called to tell me the home was ferociously filthy: dogs routinely relieved themselves in the house (they weren’t housebroken) and there was other filth everywhere. She was calling to ask me if she should tell the parents. I asked her whether or not the parents had ever visited. She said “yes,” and I replied that since they already know, they intend to do nothing. They probably don’t want to tick off the daughter, so they wouldn’t be able to visit the grandkids, or else they’re equally filhy in their habits.
I said that the right thing is to protect the health of the children. That’s why she needs to immediately call Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Health Department. I offered that she could call the parents and tell them this is what was happening in order to give them a “head’s up,” but I also had to warn her that she’d be attacked by most of the family who are ashamed that they’ve done nothing. The moment my caller blows the whistle, she will be outcast and berated and maligned and hated.
Too many people do not focus in on the right thing to do, and think of lesser issues instead, such as guilt for not having acted themselves, embarrassment for being part of a family that treats children this way, or denial that a family member might have a mental problem.
No one in this whole situation outside of my caller gave a damn about the children. I applaud and support her. She’ll need it. Doing the right thing usually comes with a price. Maybe that’s why so many people avoid it.