Professor Hugh Laurence and Jeff Rybak
Sam and Jenny have been married for three years. Sam is an accountant with his own
business. Jenny is a dental assistant. They have finally saved up enough money to
make a down payment on a new home. They have lived in an apartment in Toronto
since they were married, but they both came from a small town south of London,
Loafer Jones sells real estate. Recently, he has had difficulty getting good listings of
homes to sell; many of the houses for sale on the market are in less desirable
neighbourhoods. The homes are, however, less expensive and they are therefore more
appealing to younger new home buyers. In particular, Loafer listed one home in a
neighbourhood Loafer had never seen before. He made a quick inspection of the home
and accepted the listing, setting the asking price at $350,000.
Sam and Jenny saw the listing and called Loafer. The new listing more or less satisfied
their requirements, and Loafer showed it to them. They were pleased with the look of
the property and with the price. They asked Loafer, “Is this a good neighbourhood?”
“Sure,” said Loafer, “just look at the quality of the house. But don’t just ask me – ask any
of the neighbours.” Reassured, Sam and Jenny purchased the home and move in.
Thus began the tale of Sam and Jenny’s new home.
When Sam and Jenny purchased the house, it came with a stove installed. The stove
was a year old. When Jenny used the stove for the first time, however, she got a
surprise. She set the heat at 350 degrees. Once the stove signaled that it was ready,
she put a cookie sheet of oatmeal cookies into the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
She then went outside to hang up the laundry. When she came back after about 10
minutes, she immediately realized something was very wrong. The kitchen was full of
smoke and there was a powerful smell of burned food. Jenny rushed over to the stove,
turned it off and quickly pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven with the insulated over
mitt on her hand. Flames shot out of the stove and burned Jenny’s arm badly above the
mitt. She dropped the cookie sheet, where it melted a large rectangle in the floor. Jenny
managed to call the fire department, and firefighters sprayed the stove with extinguisher
foam. The stove was completely destroyed. Jenny was off work for three weeks until
her arm healed.
Jenny had to go to the emergency room at the hospital to have her burn treated. She
waited for 4 hours before one of the interns looked at her arm. The intern gave her
some medication, which he said would take down the swelling and relieve the pain.
Jenny began to take the medication, but within an hour she felt much worse. The
medication might have helped with the swelling but it caused a severe allergic reaction.
Jenny had to go back to the hospital, although this time they treated her after only an
hour’s painful wait. Apparently about 10% of those who took the medication had this
reaction, which was more likely if the patient had asthma. Jenny had asthma as a child,
although she seemed to have outgrown it as a teenager. The doctor did not inquire
about Jenny’s medical history and gave no warning about the medication.