Fololio Mulagia

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Oxygen Pages: 8 (1258 words) Published: July 8, 2013
In May of 2011 a Samoan schoolteacher by the name of Folole Muliaga was sent home from

a New Zealand hospital suffering from a terminal illness called cardiomyopathy. Because,

doctors believed she did not have much longer to live she was sent home with two oxygen

tanks to help aid her with her illness. McNaughton (2006) states that on May 29 a contractor

for Vircom EMS was sent by Mercury Energy to the Muliaga’s home to disconnect the

electricity supply. Mrs. Muliaga pleaded with the contractor to keep the electricity because of her

health condition but he disagreed. A few short hours later Mrs. Muliaga would perish. Prior to

the Muliaga’s electricity being disconnected, the family had an outstanding balance of $168.00,

and could not afford to pay the bill. The case of Folole Muliaga would later be broadcast around

the world capturing the attention of many government officials. This paper will cover many

aspects including but not limited to: the consequences and outcomes of the scenario, the illegal

and unethical aspects of the Mercury Company, was the role of the coroner and police

department justifiable, and lastly, what reforms and guidelines were put in place as a result of the

devastating tragedy?

Evaluate Ethical Behavior: The Historical Case of Folole Muliaga

Folole Muliaga, a 44 year old terminally ill mother of four suffering from cardiomyopathy

perished after not being able to pay a $168.00 electricity bill. As a result of Mrs. Muliaga

sickness she was unable to continue her teaching career which brought in the majority of the

household income. Johnston (2007) states that Mercury Energy was unaware that

disconnecting power to a South Auckland home could have potentially life-threatening

consequences. The resulted consequence was too harsh; to disconnect the electricity given that

Mrs. Muliaga was just released from the hospital days earlier. The major price Mrs. Muliaga

paid was dying 3 hours after the electricity was disconnected from her home.

The family of Mrs. Muliaga would later dispute that the bill was not overdue, and that

it was actually due days later. Bennett (2007) states that Folole’s husband actually made a

partial payment on May 17 and would make another payment a few days later. The Mercury

Energy contractor who disconnected the power says he was unaware that Mrs. Muliaga depended

on oxygen tanks to live. What’s disturbing is that the Muliaga family states that when the

contractor arrived, Mrs. Muliaga invites him in and thourgly explains to him her health

circumstances. She begins to plead with him not to disconnect the electricity, but he is not being

attentive to her needs. He states he is simply doing his job, and that she must contact Mercury

Energy to have the electricity restored.

Although health professionals who treated the victim said her health problems had

tremendously worsened over the past few months, does not make it morally nor ethically

factual for the company to not hear the concerns of its customers. After the incident went

national the general manager for Mercury Energy stated that he was sure the company was not

at fault for Mrs. Muliaga’s death. Cleve (2007) He contended: I’m confident that the processes

we have put, the communications we had with the customer, were very clear about the

circumstances that would happen. The general manager’s arrogance toward Muliaga’s death

clearly shows his lack of concern and unethical behavior. His thoughts are that the company

done nothing immorally or illegally wrong. In the case of Folole Muliaga there was almost a

trial by media, pressuring Mercury to change how they conduct business with customers who

have severe medical conditions. A company’s culture is the biggest element of how it handles

difficult situations. Companies no matter...
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