Options for Action When an Engineering Ethics Threshold Is Reached 33
Zerga filed a sealed civil complaint in Sacramento federal court alleging
fraud on the part of Tenet Heathcare Corporation, which owned RMC;
Dr. Moon; Dr. Fidel Realyvasquez, a cardiac surgeon at the hospital; and
Cardiology Associates of Northern California, a group that included Moon.
FBI investigation, which included interviews with hospital staff, revealed
that a substantial number of unnecessary surgeries had been charged to
Medicare; $54 million was recovered in the settlement with Tenet only, which
admitted no wrongdoing. Corapi and Zerga received 15% of the total recov-
ered, which amounted to $8.1 million.Tenet still faces more than 100 medical
malpractice suits on behalf of RMC patients and an ongoing investigation of
its practices by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (Walsh, 2004).
Not all corporations are unethical. Some are even shining examples of
social responsibility. Part of Google’s corporate philosophy is, “You can
make money without doing evil” (Google, 2004). One percent of Google
profits go to the charitable Google Foundation. Birkenstock USA has been
doing good works for 30 years but is reluctant to disclose the recipients of
its philanthropy (Lewis, 2004). Perhaps readers may work at these types of
corporations. With SOX protections in place and more False Claims com-
plaints being filed, I believe that workplaces are becoming more ethical.
But if ethical dilemmas occur, then at least the alternatives for action have
been discussed.
Cullen, F., Maakestad, W., and Cavender, G., Profits vs. Safety. Reprinted in The Ford Pinto Case:
A Study in Applied Ethics, Business, and Technology. Edited by D. Birsch and J. H. Fielder.
Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1994, 263–272.
Devine, T., Sarbanes-Oxley Act Summary of Law. Washington, DC: Government Accountability
Program, 2002. http://www.whistleblower.org/corporate/sox_summary.htm.
Duffy, M., By the sign of the crooked E. Time Mag, Web exclusive, January 19, 2002.
Eckholm, E., A watchdog follows the money in Iraq. NY Times,A10, November 15, 2004.
False Claims Act Legal Center, Taxpayers Against Fraud Web site. Washington, DC: False
Claims Act Legal Center, 2004. www.taf.org.
Frontline, Inside the Tobacco Deal: How Two Small-Time Lawyers from Mississippi Took Big
Tobacco to the Edge of Bankruptcy and Criminal Prosecution. Washington, DC: Public
Broadcasting System, 1998. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/settlement.htm.
Google, Our Philosophy, Mountain View, CA: Google, 2004. http://www.google.com/corporate/
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