Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How much is a life worth?

 We all remember the ford pinto case of 1972 or at least have a vague reference to it about how ford was not willing to spend 12 bucks to protect the fuel tank from rear end crashes.  The company "bean counters" used tables that showed sales numbers and potential lawsuits that once the crash tests found this issue too late to retool the factories and the cost benefits were not worth it to compete with Volkswagen and their small car race to market.  So in the end we all say that greedy ford was not willing to spend 12 bucks to save peoples lives.  Now lets look at this from another angle.

I was listening to 1190 AM radio yesterday to "The Wall street Shuffle" where they bring up this cost of life issue and the ford pinto case and they bring up a point that got me thinking about how we should value life and what companies do for us.  The issue with the 12 dollar part to fix the ford pinto is that people would still die from driving the car so the 12 dollar argument should be that every car should be made at any cost to be the safest thing on the road.  When in reality you know that buying the cheapest fastest car made on the block is probably not the safest one on the road.  We all see these crash tests and know the number of stars that cars get.  If we cared about our lives so much that we put the blame of lost life in the hand of the manufacturer then they should spend every dollar possible to buy the safest car on the road, but in reality we take a risk with everything we buy.  So the drivers of the ford pinto in theory knew that driving a car may lead to death and we know this to be true even today.  Same goes for buildings, roads, bridges, electronic manufacturers, and even pharmaceutical companies.  We all know that we take a risk with anything we purchase but we get reward by taking those risks.  We can drive across town in no time because we take the risk of driving a car.  Even taking our insulin is taking a risk that it is safe and will work properly and the reward is that we get to live another day to have people make fun of us because we cannot process a cookie properly.  So the point is when you see the law suits for drug manufacturers or car companies just think about the other side that you are not walking to work and you are taking a risk
Yesterday I posted a couple of articles about an Oklahoma lawsuit and of the Blitz company that went bankrupt because of the lawsuit.  I meant to post this information with them as well but had to help a friend at work get a fridge to his house (you know what happens to someone that has a truck, they always help their friends) and I ran out of time to finish my post.  The point of it all and what the guys on the radio were talking about is that these people were trying to re-start a fire by pouring gas on it and once they put the gas on it the can was left next to this lady and the fire started and jumped to the can and caused it to explode.  The thing is though the can states clearly on it not to keep it near open flame and since the lady won her lawsuit the gas can maker went belly up and all other US gas can companies are halting business because a warning not to do something is not enough to keep them from paying for peoples stupidity.  This all goes down to taking risk for rewards.  The people wanted to start their fire fast and they used the gas in the can, knowing it had risk but, once the can blew up they blamed the manufacturer should have done more to protect them.  When things like this happen and frivolous lawsuits happen we all pay with the 300 people that were laid off, and the other US companies that laid off their gas can people which causes foreign manufactures having to add more safety to the cans because you have to keep them safe for stupids and then we all have to pay more for our cans.  Take this to the level of diabetes and my argument last week where if we personally had the chance to take risks with our own life to use products that have not met FDA or FCC requirements but have a higher risk and reward for using them.  So next time you are home during the day and they have those commercials about suing every company that has not worked out for you, just remember the risk/reward philosophy and own your life.  Just a little something to think about.

1 comment:

  1. Your post definitely hit a nerve with me (I'm in agreement with you on this issue.) Your post reminds me of 1997, when there were class-action lawsuits filed against the manufacturer of the drug Fen-Phen. I was just beginning my first job at a health insurance company at the time. For years people wanted a drug that would help them miraculously lose weight without any physical effort. Despite the warnings issued by the maker of the drug, people begged their doctors to prescribe them this miracle drug. As a result, some users died from heart valve problems associated from the drug not reacting well with people's existing heart problems they didn't know they had. People sued the FDA for releasing the drug, the manufacturer of the drug, the insurance companies who covered the costs for the drug, and the doctors who wrote the prescriptions. This caused the FDA to crack down on releasing new medications to the market going forward, and people that could have otherwise survived deadly diseases like cancer ended up dying because doctors couldn't prescribe life-saving drugs until the FDA released them, and the FDA wouldn't release a drug to the market until every remotely possible side effect had been researched, double researched, and researched one more time. Think about how this has affected diabetes research today; all the drugs and equipment that the FDA will not release for use in the US for 10-20 years, even though it could help countless diabetics and is already approved in other advanced countries. These types of frivolous lawsuits affect each and every one of us, if not now, maybe years down the line.