Beat Bureaucracy

How a military wife protected her children from medical red tape

Maggie was home alone with the seven children when one of them started running a high fever in the middle of a cold winter night. She called the military base hospital to ask how much aspirin to give him."I’m sorry, but we can’t give that information over the telephone. You’ll have to bring the child in."

Maggie patiently explained that there were six other children at home that she’d have to bundle up and bring as well, and it was five below zero outside."I’m sorry. We’re not allowed to give that information over the telephone. You’ll have to bring the child in."

Maggie wasn’t about to give up so she said the magic words, "May I please speak with your supervisor." "Well alright, but it won’t do you any good. We’re not allowed ..."

Maggie talked to six different people before finally getting to a doctor who told her the same thing. "You want me to take a sick child out in five below zero weather in the middle of the night, not to mention six more?" Finally the doctor relented and told her how much to give him. Persistence, common sense, and a refusal to be intimidated had paid off.   Dr. Robert M. Bowman, United Catholic Church