Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Indian Health Services and Dr. Weber (1992-2018)

Ethics Case Controversy:
Dr. Weber
Indian Health Services is a government-run agency whose job is to provide medical treatment to Native Americans living on reservations. Dr. Weber was a pediatrician for this company for over 20 years. Dr. Weber worked on two different IHS reservations during this time period. The first was at Blackfeet. At this reservation, he had many complaints filed and was attacked by a family member of a patient because that patient had stayed the night in Dr. Webers home. After this incident, Weber decided to leave Blackfeet and the IHS offered him another job at Pine Ridge Reservation.
Mark Butterbrodt

At Pine Ridge reservation one of Dr. Weber's coworkers, Mark Butterbrodt started to have suspicions about him. Mark Butterbrodt noticed that Weber did not see infants, he did not see girls and he did not see overweight boys. He only saw young adolescent boys. He could not do anything about it because he could not prove anything. One night Weber was assaulted in his home by a few of his patients, but what was odd was that Weber refused to tell the police who assaulted him or why and would not press charges. This along with Butterbrodt finally coming forward launched an investigation.

The IHS sent Ron Keats to investigate, Ron at the end of his investigation cleared Weber and transferred Mark Butterbrodt 600 miles away and stripped him of a third of his pay. After this investigation, Dr. Weber continued to work at Pine Ridge for 20 years. It was not until an outside investigator came that he was finally indicted for his crimes and finally convicted for sexually assaulting multiple adolescent boys. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Ronald Keats

The stakeholders, in this case, are Indian Health Services, Dr. Weber, Ronal Keats, Mark Butterbrodt, the patients of Dr. Weber, and the general population.

According to individualism, the IHS acted unethically. While they were trying to maximize profits for the organization by keeping Weber on staff they should not have kept him on because he was breaking the law. Weber was sexually assaulting these young boys and because this is illegal under individualism by keeping him on this was not the right thing to do.

The way a Utilitarian thinker would look at this case would be by trying to measure overall happiness. According to Utilitarianism the IHS acted unethically because by keeping Weber on he was not increasing the happiness of any of the stakeholders. He was ruining his patient's lives and he ruined the career of an actual good doctor in Mark Butterbrodt.

According to the formula of humanity, you should never treat people as a means and always treat people as an end. According to Kantianism and the formula of humanity, the IHS acted unethically. The IHS transferred Mark Butterbrodt to another reservation just so he would keep his mouth shut about Weber's misconduct. Weber as an employee for IHS treated his patients as a means. He used his patients to get closer to them.

Virtue Theory:
The way a thinker using Virtue Theory would analyze this case would be by looking at the 4 main virtues. The first Virtue is Courage. The IHS did not display this virtue because they did not have the courage to get rid of Weber, they kept him on and shoved his offenses under the table so that nobody would get in trouble. The second virtue is Honesty. The IHS did not display honesty when they sent an employee to investigate Weber, this employee was a pedophile and was not honest with the results of his findings. The third Virtue is temperance. The IHS did not have reasonable expectations for their doctors. The final virtue is fairness. They did not display this virtue when they transferred Mark Butterbrodt. Mark did everything right and put his neck on the line because he believed he was doing something right. Just so he would stop complaining about Weber's misconduct the IHS transferred him 600 miles away and stripped him on a third of his pay.

Justified Ethics Evaluation:
Indian Health Services acted unethically through this entire process. Although they were underfunded and understaffed, what happened to those patients should never happen and it is the companies fault. At the first sign that an employee may be sexually assaulting kids, somebody should have done something and that doctor should have been relieved of his duties. There was no reason to rehire Weber at Pine Ridge. Because of the companies decision to keep him on staff, they ruined many peoples lives and all of it could have been avoided.

Action plan:
Indian Health Services is under a lot of fire from the media and needs to do something fast. The first thing they should do is clean house. They should fire all their executives and all the staff that was associated with Dr. Weber. They then need to start a new department. This new department will be responsible for responding to complaints about employees regarding ethical conduct. They also will be responsible for hiring back all the positions that are vacant because of the mass firings. The next thing they need to do is include new policies which will allow employees to complain about the ethical conduct of their peers anonymously and know that their complaints are taken seriously by this new department.

The next thing that needs to happen is the company has to write a written statement to the general public explaining what happened and talking about everything the company has done to remedy the situation and make sure the situation never happens again. After this their needs to be a change of culture this company needs to act ethically and have a real motivation to help people. After this, the company needs to advertise it needs to show the public how harsh the conditions are on the reservation and how severely underfunded the company really is. Hopefully, with this push they will be able to collect donations and finally get the government to give them more funding.


Weaver, Christopher, et al. "A Pedophile Doctor Drew Suspicions for 21 Years. No One Stopped Him." The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones and Company, 8 Feb, 2019, www.wsj.com/articles/g-pedophile-doctor-drew-suspicions-for-21-years-no-one-stopped-him.

"Predator on the Reservation." PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/predator-on-the-reservation/.

"Native American Aid." Native American History an dCulture Boarding Schools- American Indian Relief Council is Now Northern Plains Reservation Aid, www.nativepartnership.org/site/PageServerpagename=ngg livingconditions

"A Pedophile Doctor Drew Suspicisions for 21 Years, No One Stopped Him." PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/wghb/frontline/article/patrick-stanley-weber-sexualabuse-pine-ridge-blackfeet-reservation/.

"Employee Profile of Stanley Patrick Weber- Medical Officer." FederalPay, www.federalpay.org/employees/indian-healthservice/weber-stanley-patrick.

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