last year i started this thing when i asked a thought provoking (or not so provoking...) question which i had people respond to. this year i've done it again :] this page is for that question.

first off... the question

THE SCENARIO:

you're an only parent and your second son/daughter has been in a terrible accident. they are in a coma and there's a slight possibility that they will come out of it. your first son/daughter has just been accepted to the college they want to go to and is about to go the following year. however, (yep... here's the catch... ketch... katch... eh... the "thing") the hospital fees are VERY costly and your budget is very tight. if you decide to help your son/daughter stay on life support you may go bankrupt and lose your house and belongings... and your first child won't have the fundings to go to their college (no cheating with this and saying "they'll just get a scholorship" cuz... um... hmm... reason... oh! ok... deadline to apply for one is too late. yeah.) if you don't keep your child in the hospital, then you will lose your son/daughter forever. what would you do?

oh yeah... a few more things to remember:
~there IS a possibility that the kid'll come out
~there'a also the possibility that they won't... and if you spend your money to keep them on life support and go bankrupt and they die... you're broke AND you've lost your child
~you have another very bright child who is about to go to college and funding for hosipal fees will cut that off
~no, you don't have insurance


REPLIES: 8
comatose kid funds: 3        college: 5
alan|carol|cindy|craig|gordon|ingrid|joanne|kevin|"kramer"|"nolan"|rei|tsg|warren

tsg: i'd do what any parent would do, keep the life support running, there's not really a choice there for me

i-grid: I'd do both. (Hear me out.)

First of all, Why should the first brat get ALL the money? (And doesn't the second kid have a college fund?) I think the first guy should get a reasonable amount of money, enough for the tuition, but should get a damn job so he can feel good about puttin' himself though school (you can't just take it all away, or else he won't have enough money for tuition). This should leave enough to help his younger sibling for a while, at least, until all the insurance comes though. Insurance does pay for this sort of thing for a while, but not too long. Then spend the second kid's college fund. If this lasts for 4 years, then you can get the first kid to help pay for the medical costs with his new job and new degree. If they go to a county hospital, then the city/county would also pay for some of it.
Nit picky details i must wonder about...
-do they have insurance?
-does the second kid have a college fund?
-could the first kid get a job?
-don't they have a savings fund?
-get the community to help?
-family friends?
-What did the second kid do to be in the accident?
-parents can get second jobs, can't they?

craig:Well you ask a very moral question. Which one is the most needy? A human life is something terrible to waste. Faced with an interesting disposition we see that the fact is that this is a case of need vs. want. My first son wants to go away to college, my second son needs to live. My money therefore goes to my second son and my best efforts to help him come out of his coma, as long as it takes, as much money as it takes. My first son whom desires to go to college must find a compromise. Two options really: go to community college and work part time, paying for his own school. Hopefully at the end of 2 years the money will be there to further his education. It looks like its tight times for my family, and my wife will have to get a job (if she doesn't have one already).

Those are my thoughts on this situation.

kevin: Okay Here's what i do:
1) i have 2 children. Losing one isn't as bad as losing both. (that may sound heartless, but I guess i'm just not attached too much to children...)
2) The scenario has a severe flaw... If your kid does make it, then you're going to end up bankrupt, and if they don't, you still don't have insurance, and the fees that they accumulated from being repaired are still going to make you really really poor.
3) best choice -> send the 1st kid to college, so they have a life.

kramer: Obviously keep the child on life support. Life is more important than college for a kid and I'm sure the kid going to college would feel extreme guilt about the source of the funding being at the expense of his brother or sister dying. And yes, one could always wait a year and apply for a scholarship then and would most likely get it based on the circumstances or go to a cheaper public school or to a JC for 2 years which is very cheap and then to another public school so the question is not all that deep. In fact, I bet it has happened and has worked out for all involved. Poor people DO go to college. Dumb question. Okay. That is my 2 cents worth. Bye

rei: hm...that's a toughy. I suppose i'd give the money to the second child since it is a life and death matter. I don't know if the first child will be appreciative of that, but hey, s/he could always take a year off of college, i guess. I suppose after a year, you could probably tell the condition of the second kid. I don't know. What I do know is that if i let the kid in the hospital die without giving him/her a chance to live, i'd feel guilty about it for the rest of my life. Sure, school is important and I wouldn't want my first child to end up like some bum, but there could be some things that the first kid could do, like go to a community college or something.

But, then again, i'm not sure i'd want to have kids.

joe joe: i would pay the money to keep the kid on life support, no question there, if theres any chance of survival, a life is more important than anything.... hopefully i wouldve raised my first kid to understand and totally want the money to go to his/her sibling and not to his/her college tuition.... plus, i dont mean to be cheating or anything, but you can probably call the college and ask for special circumstance late application for financial aid.... but theres no way i would allow a life to be wasted- education can wait, but life cant.

ca: keep the second kid alive. collge can wait. even if the kid dies, you know that you did everything that you could to save him/her.

cindy: For now, I would decide to put my first kid through college/university. Some people might say "Ohmigosh. How could she do something like that?" Well, this part is going to sound kinda cruel then: The other kid is in a coma and will probably remain a vegetable for the rest of his/her life. He/she won't be able to do much because he(I'm tired of typing he/she) probably has lost all his motor skills, brain activity, stuff like that. The other kid has this chance to go to a college and should be given the money that's needed to attend school. I guess I kinda favor giving the son/daughter to go to college because that's the next step in life for me. So...yeah. There's my reply. I didn't know if you wanted an explanation or not, but there's my justification.

alan: Answer: not to worry. the hospital will keep the kid alive... worry about the bill later. the 1st daughter/son goes to school as planned. happy ending. :P

warren: As for the first son, I think he'll learn an important lesson not getting what he wants and going to his dream school. He'll go to his second or third choice and from there another analysis can take place.... So, we keep the second son on life support. Furthermore, if the first son is not willing to sacrifice his first choice for a second choice- then SHAME ON ME as a father. If he can't love his brother enough to make such a petty sacrifice then I HAVE FAILED AS A FATHER. I failed to show my first son the importance of consideration for others. Furthermore, if the second son ends up dying, then we can always have the option (this is that analysis bit) to transfer the first son to his dream school.

But I also wanted to say that if I don't have insurance, I don't think I could honestly afford any of the above listed options... Life support racks up hundreds of thousands very quickly from what I understand. I further have no place having kids if I am not financially stable :-)

nolan: I'd use the money to save the dying son/daughter.

Gordon: Now the answer to your questions is quite simple. You see I took Catch 22 101 in college... yea college, besides all the hedonism, has cool classes like that. So, the answer is take the money, go to Bermuda and get married to a girl coconut shells... simple. You won't know if you younger child died, and the older child will never find you to seek revenge. :) ha...ha...seriously though, it's a tough call, but as an conscientious adult, which, damn it, I am by the way, I think you can always get money somehow. If you have the heart and the will, money is least of your worries.



curious as to what 1998's question and answers were? well... too bad... it was deleted. :|

other questions


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page updated: Wednesday; September 20, 2000; 6:16 PM