Vitamin pills dispensed in a scientific drug trial context

In 1966, the phone rang at Hofling Hospital. A night nurse picked up the phone and heard a harried doctor ask her to administer 20 milligrams of astroten to Mr. Jones. The nurse checked for the medication, which was not on the official list of drugs approved for use in the hospital. The box containing the drug showed that 10 milligrams was the maximum dose. A little prodding from Dr. Smith, who knew the nurses weren’t allowed to take orders over the phone but said he would be in to fill out the order paperwork later, and 21 out of 22 nurses administered the drug.
The drug turned out to be a sugar pill, and the doctor on the phone was a researcher conducting a study to see whether hospital staff would break protocol so dramatically. The results were not encouraging. True, the nurses’ jobs were potentially on the line. And … the nurses had reason to believe withholding the dose would do as much damage as giving it out. Still, the idea that trained medical professionals would give a clear overdose to a patient on the word of some guy on the phone was shocking. –Esther Inglis-Arkel

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a nurse who allows a doctor to talk her into doing something dangerous.

Journaling Prompt: Has anyone ever talked you into doing something that you knew you shouldn’t do? Write about it.

Art Prompt: Breaking protocol

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about what makes people do things that they know they shouldn’t do. Give your audience tips for resisting pressure.

Photo Credit: HealthGauge on Flickr

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