"The Ethicist" is Randy Cohen's long-running advice column in the New York Times. Each week, Gabriel Delahaye's "The Unethicist" will answer the same questions as "The Ethicist," with obvious differences.
Last week was the one year anniversary of this column, and as this week's questions about medical ethics and coveting thy neighbor's ex-wife's seat at synagogue show, no one has learned anything.
A patient came to the E.R. where I work, and a nurse gave him a preliminary evaluation. When the patient saw my name, he refused to be examined by a Muslim doctor. I couldn't reach his primary physician, and the other physician on call was also Muslim. A physician assistant offered to complete the evaluation, but as the patient was in no immediate danger, I did not allow this. Instead I discharged the patient without a full evaluation. Was I right? — Ali Mohamed Osman, M.D., Houston
No, you were not right. I have been writing this column for more than a year (kill me), and still you people just don't get it. If you're not going to listen to the advice I offer out of the goodness of my heart and the money I am paid, perhaps you will listen to Robert Greene, author of the 48 Laws of Power:
"Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally"
Admittedly, there are plenty of places where it's difficult to crush your enemy totally (Sunday mass, Papa Johns, Chuck Lidell's house), but a hospital, with its stainless steel instruments and lethal, lethal drugs, is not one of them. Since I have to do everything around here: 30 cc's of air bubble in a syringe administered through the neck ought to solve your problem. Stat!
A formerly married couple belongs to our congregation. The wife has an order of protection against her ex-husband requiring him to keep a certain distance from her, but she is uneasy around him even then, and so while he still comes to services, she does not.
Do we have an obligation to intervene on her behalf? — Name Withheld, Manhattan
Intervene on her behalf... how? You're going to let him know what is what while he's mid-prayer? I have no problem with that. But if they were both members of your... I'm just going to say synagogue, because most Christians would have said "a formerly married couple belongs to our church," so the use of the non-denominational "congregation" is suspicious, and also Manhattan... if they are both members of your synagogue, why can't the abusive ex-husband continue to attend services? Isn't it enough that she gets the Jew-creating vagina? What does she even need a congregation for?
No matter what happens to her, she has a direct vaginal connection to the history and future of her heritage. Meanwhile, this poor man not only has terrible impulse-control and a prosecutorially nagging wife, he's also going to get kicked out of the house of God? By you? Mr. I'm Not Going to Bother Explaining How I Know All The Intimate Details of a Couple From My Synagogue But I Will Spread Those Details Throughout The Land?
I respect you for totally sticking your nose so far up someone else's business that you can smell heaven. But it's time that we gave the abusive Jewish ex-husbands a chance. All three of them. Seriously, though, you guys, domestic abuse is no joke. Except for that one time Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen beat up his wife. The man only has one arm. Comedy platinum.