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Dad Refuses To Use His Young Son’s Emergency Medical Fund To Pay For His Father-In-Law’s Surgery

Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

One crisis people in countries with socialized medicine rarely face is the need to choose between different priorities when it comes to healthcare.

Do you go bankrupt to save one family member? Do you prioritize spending your life savings for one family member over another?

How do you decide?

That’s a question a 35-year-old father faced. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Redditor Atlanta28_____ asked:

“AITA For refusing to use my son’s emergency fund to pay for my wife’s dad’s surgery?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My son (9 years old) has congenital heart disease (CHD). We knew my son had a problem since my ex-wife was pregnant with him.”

“He had an enormous procedure on his heart when he was 10 days old. We had a huge responsibility of making sure he was recovering and the only people we talked to at the time were surgeons, pediatricians, and cardiologists.”

“I didn’t get to spend much time with him. Missed a lot of great moments together because of his condition but all that didn’t matter.”

“I just wanted him to grow up and be healthy just like any other normal kid.”

“He’s 9 years old. Visits the doctor every week and we’re still dealing with issues.”

“Every once in a while there seems to be an issue coming up unexpectly. Now we’re dealing with (arrhythmia) and it’s terrifying because I really don’t know where this is going.”

“I have saved up money for him in case of an emergency. My current wife—who is not his mother—who I met in 2018 has been supportive even though she complains her salary isn’t enough (she works at a salon).”

“Unfortunately my father-in-law (FIL) hasn’t been doing well. He too has a chronic condition and it got worse lately.”

“My wife’s family started contacting us about a week ago wanting us to help them with money for his surgery. My wife was the one who talked to her brother then she came to tell me that we needed to pay money to help her family.”

“Thing is my salary and hers barely cover for our expenses and daily needs. She brought up the money I have saved up for my son and suggested we use some of it to help her family.”

“She got mad when I said the money wasn’t going anywhere and that my son is sick too and he’s a priority to me. And should be to her as well.”

“She said she was pressured by her brother who kept calling her and asking her to pay. I told her that it wasn’t my problem.”

“It’s my responsibility as a parent to worry about what the future might hold for my son and be prepared.”

“She got upset. She took it as in I don’t care about her dad and how he’s the only parent she has left.”

“Trust me, I understand completely but my son is my priority. He’s literally dependant on me and I need to make sure I’m there for him.”

“I’ve had a lot of people close the door in my face when I was begging for money to pay for my son’s hospital stays and I can’t let this happen again.”

“She said that I worry too much and need therapy to deal with my issues. But I told her to stop asking because it was final.”

“She wants to invite her brother to come talk to me and explain the situation. But if he shows up I’ll let him know that I’m not obligated to pay since I’m already dealing with my own son’s issues that keep coming up ’til now.”

“I understand that my wife’s family is my family and they’re decent folks and don’t deserve this, but my son is my priority.”

Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.

“NTA. I am a 55-year-old woman with a bad heart, & am looking at living less than 5-10 years. Not a lot when you compare it with a 9-year-old boy.”

“I don’t know how old FIL is, but he’s lived his life, as have I. Your son, being only 9, still has lots of life to experience, good or bad.”

“In my humble opinion you did the right thing. I put myself in your shoes & came to my conclusion.”

“I don’t even like kids. Good luck! 🍀” ~ Brainplague_II

“NTA. That money was specifically meant for your son’s medical needs and it would not make sense for you to use that for your FIL.”

“Your wife is becoming a bigger a**hole by continuing to push your buttons until you give her the money.” ~ Reddit

“Frankly, your wife is terrible. You are being very responsible and caring about your son, as you should be.”

“She doesn’t contribute much to your combined finances as it is and she wants you to use your son’s fund for her father? That’s ridiculous.”

“She’s terrible for feeling entitled to spend your son’s money on her family and she’s even more terrible for being pushy and wanting to bring her brother over. And you’ve only been married to her for a little over 2 years anyway.” ~ Marie1420

“NTA, your son is , and should be your priority. Your wife is very wrong to expect you to spend the money on her father.”

“This man had the chance to lead a normal life to a certain age. The chance to grow up, have a job, have a family, etc… Your son hasn’t even begun his life journey yet.”

“Keep your money for your son, don’t let her have any access to it.” ~ SnooChickens5652

Many Redditors, especially those outside the United States cited the U.S. for-profit healthcare system as the biggest a**hole.

“Exactly. I know it sounds callous but her dad has lived his life, and judging by how old he is, even medical treatment now won’t prolong his life that much since he’s getting to the age where natural death is to be expected soon.”

“Your son on the other hand, is just starting his life and might need medical interventions to help him to get a chance to fully live it.”

“The US medical system is by far the biggest a**hole here.”

“I hate this country. GoFundMe is something like the third largest ‘insurer’ in the country. The government should be embarrassed so many of their citizens need to literally beg for money for healthcare.” ~ roosey09

“I would say NAH because everyone is scared and living in the same dystopian nightmare healthcare system. Every single one of us is just one bad diagnosis/accident away from the same situation.” ~ rationalomega

“Agree with NAH. Except whatever broken medical system requires a CHILD to need this kind of money to save his life.”

“Same with FIL. Don’t know why anyone thinks that’s acceptable.” ~ LeatherMail9297

“Exactly. Reading about healthcare systems that basicaly let people die for money makes me sick. Sure I complain about taxes, but it’s still better than that.” ~ No-Wind-7800

Deciding between food and medication or rent and doctor’s visits is a tragic reality in the United States. Choosing which relative gets necessary treatment is also an impossible choice people are forced to make.

While people might sympathize with OP’s wife, Redditors agreed his son needs to be his priority.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metis Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. She considers herself another proud Maineiac.
Member of NAJA.