Monday, March 31, 2014

Patient Safety: Scandal (2014)

Patient Safety logo

Patient safety is a new healthcare discipline that emphasizes the reporting, analysis, and prevention of medical errors that often leads to adverse healthcare events. Patient Safety recently got in trouble when Dr. Charles R. Denham allegedly took $12 million in kickbacks from CareFusion Corp. to influence a national guideline for product hospitals to prevent infections during surgery. Denham and his family live in a waterfront home in Laguna Beach, California, which is estimated to cost around $10.5 million. the governments allegations involve CareFusion, a publicly held company with products in the patient safety and quality improvement area. Denham signed two contracts with CareFusion, that paid Denham $11.5 million over three years to research and develop specialized software, this is not in dispute.
However, the government says the payment was inflated so Denham would influence a standard that affected sales of CareFusion's ChloraPrep antiseptic skin wipes. At the same time, Denham served as co-chair of the safe practices committee of the Washington-based National Quality Forum (NFQ), a national standards group. ChloraPrep was cited as a recommended product in 2010 after what some of Denham's NFQ's colleagues perceived as inappropriate involvement in the process. Denham said the allegations were "blatantly false", saying that the contracts were signed before a positive study of ChloraPrep was published. Denham has not been charged with any crime.
Texas Medical Institute of Technology (TMIT) was Denham's pride and joy of his numerous profit and non-profit companies. As chairman, TMIT produced documentaries and co-founded the Global Patient Safety Forum in Switzerland. CareFusion sponsored one of those documentaries, however, blogger and former hospital executive Paul Levy questioned the documentary. Levy questioned about product placement favoring CareFusion. Since, TMIT is a non-profit company none of its directors received compensation. However, the tax return states that the company paid out salaries and
wages of less than $104,000  in 2012 and non-profit management fees of about $28,000. 
At the fall meeting of the Clinton Global Health Initiative, Denham provides a two-minute video that states he is leading a partnership that includes Google, Sesame Street, the World Health Organization, the Cleveland Clinic and the Conrad Foundation. One portion of the video says, "a million kids competing with new innovations that can save lives." Denham also says there are pilot programs underway in the United States and Gabon in Africa to teach coordination skills to the underpriveleged. However, a Google search of partner websites and a general description of the programs turned up no hits. 
Many people, however, who worked with Denham, had absolutely no idea where his money came from. Many of Denham's videos raised questions of, "Is this guy for real?" People who still work with Denham because he appeared to be a good guy, good to his word, and produced results. People could not think of any reasons why to not work with him. 

In all four major ethical theories, including Individualism (Friedman's Economic Theory), Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and the Virtue Theory, the kickbacks that Charles Denham received were unethical based on the following information.

Dr. Charles D. Denham, allegedly took
$12 million in kickbacks from CareFusion Co.
According to Individualism (Friedman's Economic Theory), Friedman says, "The only goal of business is profit, so the only obligation that the business person has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stockholders." With this being said, it was unethical for Denham to receive the kickbacks because he was not maximizing profit for the company or the stockholders. Denham was only maximizing profit for himself and did not care about anybody else. I think that Denham did this because he was consumed with making money and was selfish. Denham was not worry about anybody in this situation and only cared for himself.

UtilitarianismAccording to Utilitarianism, states that all actions are aimed at something good. In this situation, however, nothing good came out of it. It seems like the only person that received happiness from this was Denham himself. Many people were hurt because they thought all of these products were safe. It actually turned out that none of these products were safe and were actually harmful. In the end, only Denham is happy with what happened and nobody else is.

KantianismKantianism states to act rationally, do not act inconsistently in your own actions or consider yourself exempt from the rules. In this situation, it appears that Denham did not act inconsistently with his own actions but he did consider himself exempt from the rules. If Denham did not receive the kickbacks, everybody would have been fine. Denham in this situation did not act rationally. Collecting the kickbacks even though he knows is wrong, is not acting rationally.

Virtue Theory
CareFusion Company logo
The Virtue Theory, states that if a business acts in a way that fits the virtue characteristics, it is acting ethically. The four characteristics are courage, honesty, self-control, and justice. Courage represents risk taking and willingness to take a stand for the right ideas. Honesty is represented in agreements and falling through with those agreements. Self-control represents good decisions and reasonable expectations. Justice represents hard work and fair practices. CareFusion, Charles Denham, and Patient Safety had none of these qualities. They did not have any courage when they knew what was going on and did not do anything about it. They showed no honesty by not telling people what was happening, there was no self-control on Denham's part because he wanted to collect as much as possible and there was no justice because nothing was fair about this.

Millenson, Michael. "The Money, the MD and a $12 Million Patient Safety Scandal." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

"Inside the First Scandal in Patient Safety." N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Nakéd Juice: Unnatural Ingredients (2013)

Popular flavors of Nakéd Juice

In 2013 PepsiCo had a lawsuit brought against them for their marketing of "Nakéd Juice". Marketed and sold as an "all-natural" juice drink the lawsuit brought against PepsiCo took issue with health phrases that did not accurately portray the product. The lawsuit states that the drink contains Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) despite PepsiCo's denial of such claims. Additionally PepsiCo's use of the phrase "all-natural" is seen as misleading since some of the Naked Juice products use some synthetic vitamin boosters and a synthetic fiber additive. PepsiCo decided to settle the lawsuit with a $9 million settlement fund that allows consumers to get up to $75 with proof of purchase from consuming the Naked Juice products between September 2007 and August 2013. The settlement fund looks to pay reparations to the consumers of the product within the given time frame. The stakeholders in this lawsuit are all the affected consumers who purchased the Naked Juice products up until August 2013 and PepsiCo itself. This post will look at PepsiCo's use of phrasing in marketing and selling Naked Juice as well as the message the settlement sends to consumers using four ethical theories: Individualist Theory, Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Virtue Theory.
In Individualist Theory a business's primary goal is to make profits for its stockholders and employees so long as the business respects laws and human rights in the process. PepsiCo's actions in marketing Naked Juice as "all natural" and "non-GMO" allowed for consumers to trust the all natural label in making a healthy drink choice. Without a doubt this allowed profits for Naked Juice to gain a foothold in the market thanks to the healthy, all natural marketing. However, this marketing is deceptive at best for the consumer since some genetically altered ingredients are used in the drink. Genetically altered soy, vitamins, and fiber do not fit the image of an "all natural" product. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have a formal definition for what makes a product "natural," they do have guidelines that states as long as a product does not have added color, artificial flavor, or synthetic substances the product could be labelled as "all natural." With the use of some synthetic ingredients PepsiCo clearly mislabeled their product and did not respect the FDA's guidelines of natural.

PepsiCo. logo, owner of Naked Juice

For Utilitarianism the most valuable emotion is happiness. Utilitarianism states that any action that tries to make everyone happy is ethical. PepsiCo may have tried to maximize the happiness of their consumers by offering an "all natural" product and thus tried to maximize their profits at the same time. That may seem good on the surface but the lawsuit highlights the unhappiness of the consumers in being misled about some of the ingredients in their juice product. The settlement tries to make up for this mislabeling by allowing the consumers to be reimbursed but that does not excuse PepsiCo's actions according to this theory. They intentionally labeled the Naked Juice product to make money but overlooked the part of the market that holds all natural products to a high standard in making sure that they do, in fact, contain all natural ingredients.

Kantianism states that businesses should always work within the rules, never consider themselves exempt from those rules, and help consumers make well informed choices for the good of everyone. This intrinsic value system to allow people to make rational, autonomous decisions is the cornerstone for this theory. PepsiCo had deliberately labeled their Naked Juice products as all natural to persuade consumers to choose that drink over other competing juice products. The all natural label worked to bring in consumers that were worried about making healthy drink choices but the questionable ingredients and their discrete inclusion in the Naked Juice products works to misinform the consumer. Under Kantianism PepsiCo makes an unethical choice in choosing the all natural label because of their use of some synthetic ingredients. The settlement shows that PepsiCo thought that they would be able to skirt by with the loose definition of "all natural", but when eventually called out for it they would rather pay up than go through a lengthy judicial process.

Virtue Theory
Donald M. Kendall, one of three founders of PepsiCo.

Virtue Theory uses four cornerstone characteristics: courage, honesty, self-control, and fairness. Courage marks a company's willingness to take chances and stand up for what is right. Honesty marks a company's truthfulness with their business actions. Self-control refers to a company's ability to create reasonable expectations and live up to those expectations. Fairness refers to a company's hard work and fair practice. PepsiCo definitely took a chance in labeling Naked Juice as "all natural" but when brought up to the lawsuit, they decided to drop the "all natural" label in favor for a "non-GMO" label. Yet PepsiCo was considerably truthful in their explanation for dropping the "all natural" label: "In some products, we also include an added boost of vitamins. Naked juice and smoothies will continue to be labeled 'non-GMO,' and until there is more detailed regulatory guidance around the word 'natural' -- we've chosen not to use 'All Natural' on our packaging." This is a fair explanation behind the use of the label and the lack of FDA definition for what a natural product is. As far as self-control goes PepsiCo failed to live up to the "all natural" expectations when some synthetic ingredients were found in their Naked Juice products. As far as Virtue Theory goes PepsiCo did good in how they handled the s
ituation once synthetic ingredients were found but their use of the "all natural" label from the beginning was dubious.

Conclusion Overall PepsiCo acted fair in their response but rather unethically in trying to use the all natural label when such a flimsy guideline was in place. By using this label they tried to create profits using an expectation of natural ingredients despite the existence of synthetic additives in their Naked Juice products. While not outright unethical it is rather dubious for PepsiCo to try to pass it off as all natural but in the end "non-GMO" may be the better label to accurately represent the drinks.


Kim, Susanna. "Naked Juice Class Action Settlement Offers Up to $75 Per Consumer."ABC News. ABC News Network, 27 Aug. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

Long, Josh. "Naked Juice to Verify Non-GMOs under "All Natural" Settlement." Food Product Design., 23 Aug. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

Sarich, Christina. "PepsiCo's Naked Juices Have to Drop 'All Natural' Label After $9 Million Class Action Lawsuit" Nation of Change., 23 July 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

Tepper, Rachel. "Naked Juice Class Action Lawsuit Settlement Over Health Claims Means $9 Million For Consumers." The Huffington Post., 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jerry Sandusky: Penn State Scandal (1994-2011)

Penn State Lions football players
Pennsylvania State College, also known as Penn state was founded in 1855. This college is the home to the Nittany Lion football team where they bleed white and navy blue. This division I team host their games at the popular Beaver stadium, where it has a capacity well over 100,000. Penn State’s first season started in 1887. From then on they have won two national titles and four conference titles with an overall record of 843 wins, 370 losses, and 42 ties, which isn’t that bad at all. With a great history of college football and not to mention academics, Penn State like any other school does have its imperfections. Penn State’s flaw however is much more serious than a school with a high drop out to graduating ratio, or a low average GPA. Back In 2011, there was a sex abuse scandal stared by former Penn State defensive coordinator/assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. On Friday June 22 he was convicted of 45 out of 48 counts and found guilty of sexual abuse. Jerry Sandusky was accused of abusing around ten children all around the age of 13 or younger, which lasted for over 15 years. During this time period reports were made regarding Sandusky molesting children, but these charges were dropped partially because the Penn State staff ignored the situation. “The former coaching assistant sys he merely horsed around with the boys, all of whom met through his Second Mile charity” The Second Mile charity was a nonprofit organization for needy children that provided help for at-risk kids and supported their parents in Pennsylvania. Sandusky would only use this charity as a sick cover up to have his way with the youth. Sandusky was also kept out of trouble due to lousy investigation. In 1998, Jerry Sandusky admitted to showering with a child, to hugging him while in the shower. He then admitted to how it was incorrect and immoral. After basically getting a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again no charges were pressed against him. Justice was not served in this scenario at all, which is why it was to no surprise Sandusky did not put a halt to his sick ways.

Jerry Sandusky, Serial rapist and former
Penn State assistant football coach
1994- Boy known as Victim 7 meets Sandusky through The Second Mile at about the age of 10. The boy regularly sleeps at Sandusky's house on Friday nights before home games and attends those games with him. When he stays at Sandusky's house, Sandusky sometimes cuddles with him. They work out and shower together regularly.
1995- Boy known as Victim 5 meets Sandusky through The Second Mile when he is 7 or 8, in second or third grade. He attends several football games with Sandusky. Once, Sandusky takes him to the locker rooms and, after briefly exercising, said that they needed to shower. Uncomfortable, Victim 5 chooses a shower far away from Sandusky's. Sandusky begins to molest him, but the boy leaves the shower and gets dressed. Sandusky never touches him again and stops inviting him to football games.
1998- Sandusky takes Victim 6 to the gym when he is 11 years old. After working out, Sandusky persuades the boy to shower with him. While they shower, Sandusky hugs the boy. When Sandusky drops Victim 6 at home, his hair is still wet. His mother finds out that Sandusky showered with her son. She reports the incident to the university police, who investigate.
With a total of ten kids abused (that we know of) Sandusky’s last victim was in the year of 2000.

Joe Paterno, former head
coach of Penn State football
All ten boys Sandusky took advantage of were through the means of using his charity program Second Mile. Even though Sandusky was the one physically committing these crimes, there were many other people involve with this scandal that are arguable just as guilty of the former Penn State member. In 2000, a janitor by the name of James Calhoun had caught Sandusky in the shower with a boy but refused to report it, because he was afraid of getting fired. Grad assistant Mike McQueary also catches Sandusky in his criminal act and reports it to head Coach Joe Paterno, who then informs the Athletic director Tim Curley. Instead of not reporting the incident, Tim Curley talked to the Vice president Gary Schultz instead suggesting help for Sandusky. "The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it.” Tim Curley knew what he was doing was wrong and still wanted to go through with the idea. When brought to court years later, both Curley and Schultz tried lying about Sandusky conducting sexual abuse, but their claims were found false by the grand jury.
As a result of this whole scandal, Sandusky was arrested, but later released on a $100,000 bail. Curley and Schultz both stepped down from their positions surrendering on charges that they failed to alert the police to complaints against Sandusky. Head coach Joe Paterno was fired. In the four major ethical theories, Individualism, utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue theory, Penn State did not fare well. They were very unethical in their decisions and how they handled them as well. Staying silent for a period of 15 years committing criminal acts that were immoral is not ethical at all.
Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and
Athletic Director Tim Curly of Penn State
Under Utilitarianism, it focuses on how to maximize happiness and pleasure for yourself and others. I feel after the Sandusky scandal was found out about and no longer behind closed doors, certain Penn State staff were not following this principle. In my opinion, if Curley and Schultz took the initiative to seek justice for the children abused after being informed by the grad assistant Mike McQueary, they would have been maximizing happiness for not only the victims and their parents, but whole country. Child molesting and sexual abuse is frowned upon in this country, and any act to stop it or punish the wrong doer would make any citizen of this country happy. Before this scandal was revealed however, you could argue that Pen State was trying to maximize happiness. Although the victims and their parents were not at all happy with Sandusky’s actions, that was smaller portion compared to the people who were at risk of getting in trouble under this scandal. The whole Penn State organization would suffer tremendously if the scandal was discovered. This is why Sandusky, Curley, Schultz, and Paterno were all working to keep it secretive in attempt to not tarnish the school’s name.
Kantianism emphasizes the ethical standpoint in which you should do what is right in respect to others, and not what is on your own best interest or motivation. If Jerry Sandusky was following the Kantian principles, he would have never taken advantage of the children in the first place. He should have respected the fact that these underprivileged children joined his charity in seek of help, and nothing more. Although this was Sandusky’s intention for the first decade or so of the organization, he later used the charity for different purposes. Being the corrupt man he is he turned the Second Mile charity into a trap to abduct adolescents. This is a perfect example of going against Kantianism. He was pursuing things for his best interest. The janitor of Penn State was also doing things for the interest of himself, by not reporting the incident in order to keep his job. I’m sure this grown man knew the right thing to do was to report Sandusky, but instead he kept silent. Curley and Schultz also knew that it would be more ethical and right to report Sandusky, but they also did not attempt to report Sandusky.
According to Friedman Individualism theory, he says that there is only one goal of a business and it is to maximize their profit for the owner or the stockholders. Under this theory, the key people involved with this scandal were attempting to follow its principles. Sandusky, Curley, Schultz, Paterno, and other less significant people involved with this scandal were seeking to maximize the profit of Penn State while the scandal was going on, by keeping it unknown. If they happened to be successful and had gotten away with it, they would not have suffered from the $60 million fine given to Penn State by the NCAA, a four year post season ban on the football team, reduction on the number of scholarship players the team can field over a four year period, and the loss of many victories earned by the former head coach and his team. Maximizing the school’s profit was definitely a motive for these figures, however they were not successful.
Virtue Theory
Aaron Fisher, "Victim 1" of
Jerry Sandusky's sexual assault scandal,
wrote a book about his fight for justice,
titled "Silent No More"

Virtue Theory focuses on four main characteristics honesty, courage, temperance, and justice. The word honesty means to be truthful in all circumstances no matter the consequence with stakeholders, employees, customers, or anyone else involve with your business. Jerry Sandusky was not honest when being investigated. After telling the investigator that he would never again lay his hand on a child, he went against his words and did so. Sandusky was also not truthful to the kids and parents that were a part of his charity. He was taking advantage of the kids involved with his charity was not giving them what they had signed up for. He was not being honest with their parents either by gaining their trust and then using it to his benefit. Curley and Schultz were not being honest when they lied in court in front of the grand jury. They denied knowing about Sandusky and his child molesting history. They claimed that they were told he had just been “horse playing” with the children, they had no whereabouts of what was really going on. For this same reason, Curley and Schultz were not courageous. They did not stand up for what was right no matter the adversity. Being courageous would have meant the two of them reporting the incident as soon as they found out even if it meant hurting the school reputation, because in the long run they were doing what was right. The grad assistant Mike McQueary did have courage when after seeing Sandusky take advantage of a child. He reported the situation multiple times. The Janitor on the other hand possessed none at all; in fear of losing his job he had no intentions of finding justice. And of course Sandusky played the biggest coward of them all, keeping the scandal a secret when he was the one first handedly committing it. He should have had the courage and strength to stop himself before committing his first offense on a child, and the courage to seek help after he went about it. Lastly, he should have had the courage to turn himself in for what is right, no matter the consequence.  Temperance is the ability to set reasonable expectations and desires. Being a well-known college having the privilege to have Division I sports, you need to set great examples. Penn State and Penn State football is looked up upon and people hold great expectations for the Penn State organization. With a great mistake like this scandal, it goes against what colleges and universities represent. A college is made to further people’s education, give them an experience they’ll never forget, and prepare them for their life’s ahead. They are not supposed to be known as institutions that employ people who violate kids and scar them for the rest of their lives. Justice is to be fair to all stakeholders, and it also includes hard work, good ideas, and fair practices. Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was not fair at all by putting not only his colleagues, but the school itself in a very bad situation. None of these people who were later involved with the scandal ask to be a part of it. Although many of them (James Calhoun, Curley, Schultz, Paterno) did not handle the situation correctly, it was not fair to them that they were thrown into such a humiliation of an event.


· Chappell, Bill. "Penn State Abuse Scandal: A Guide And Timeline." NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

· "The Penn State Scandal, Piece by Piece." Penn State Scandal Timeline. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

· Yanda, Steve. "Penn State Football Punished by NCAA over Jerry Sandusky Scandal." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 26 July 2012. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.

· Salazar, Heather. "Kantian Business Ethics." 20 Feb. 2014.

Penn State: Sexual Abuse Scandal (2012)

Penn State football team with their Mascot, the Nittany Lion

In June 2012, Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, was convicted of 45 of 48 counts of molesting 10 boys in a 15 year period. These incidents go back to the late 1990's when Sandusky would run a youth football camp, for which he represented Penn State. Jerry Sandusky was working under Joe Paterno, the head football coach. In November 2011, Jerry Sandusky was arrested after a grand jury report found that Sandusky was seen in 2002 sexually assaulting a 10 year old boy. Sandusky, retired in 1999 but still kept a close access to the Penn State facilities.
The incident was witnessed by then graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who reported it to Paterno. Paterno then reported it to Tim Curley, the athletic director. McQueary, Paterno, Curley, and senior vice president Gary Schultz, who oversaw campus police, all testified as part of the grand jury investigation into Sandusky. The grand jury found that Curley and Schultz were not found credible and were only charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. According to the indictment, Curley and Schultz failed to report the incident to police.
When McQueary first witnessed the incident, he stated that he went directly to the police and informed of the incident. However, during the investigation it was found that McQueary did not actually go to the police and only went to Paterno. On November 6, 2011, Sandusky was officially banned for the Penn State campus. Schultz and Curley took a leave of absence.Three days later, Penn State's board of trustees forced university president Graham Spanier to resign, and Paterno, who said earlier that he would retire at the end of the season, was fired. 
Jerry Sandusky went on trial on June 5, 2012. The trial, including the jury selection, only lasted a little over two weeks. Four of the 52 counts counts Sandusky faced were dismissed during the course of the trial. On June 22, Sandusky was convicted of 45 of the remaining 48 charges against him. Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.

Jerry Sandusky, child molester, and former Penn Sate assistant coach

According to Individualism (Friedman's Economic Theory), "The only goal of business is profit, so that the only obligation of the business person has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stakeholders." The people involved and the university violated this theory when nobody told the police of their acknowledgment of the sexual abuse. Penn State was forced to reimburse the victims for what they went through. The football program also lost scholarships and current players and recruits decommitted because of this incident. The university as a whole of this because they were not maximizing their profit by losing players and having to pay victims.

The Utilitarianism Theory's policy is to "maximize the overall good", and with this scandal, the people and university did not make anybody happy. There was no happiness during this horrific event and during the investigation. Everybody involved was affected negatively. Even the fans were affected negatively with the firing of their beloved coach, Joe Paterno. Even hearing about this incident puts people in a disgusted and awful mood.

Former Penn State Assistant Coach,
Mike McQueary, key witness
for "Victim 2" of Jerry Sandusky scandal

Kantianism, states people to act rationally and to not act inconsistently in your own actions or consider yourself exempt from the rules. Nobody involved acted rationally throughout this whole process, McQueary should have informed the police about this incident first rather than telling Joe Paterno. Sandusky considered himself exempt from the rules by doing what he did. There was just no good that came out of this horrific event.

Virtue TheoryFinally, the Virtue Theory deals with people and businesses making good decisions that help everybody. In this situation, nobody make a good decision but rather made a decision that hurt everybody. The four characteristics of virtue theory are courage, honesty, self-control, and fairness. The people involved and the university did not exemplify any of these qualities. There was no courage because nobody stepped forward and informed the police of what was going on, there was no honesty when McQueary lied about informing the police, nobody exhibited self-control, and the victims were not treated fairly during this tragedy.

This tragedy goes against all of these theories stated. Nothing good came out of these events, for both the people involved and the university. If McQueary informed police in the first place, this all could have been avoided but he decided not to. 


"Penn State Scandal." ESPN College Football. ESPN, 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.