CALGARY - An expert in bioethics says queue-jumping in the health system is never a black-and-white issue.

Dr. Lynette Reid of Dalhousie University says doctors and other caregivers often have to resolve conflicts between personal compassion and community responsibility.

Reid was giving expert testimony to Alberta's Preferential Access Inquiry, which is looking to determine if there is queue-jumping going on in the provincial system.

The inquiry has heard testimony of an informal system of doctors or nurses giving the odd helping hand to family, friends, or associates.

Reid says it's understandable that these people would want to help those closest to them and that ethical dilemma is compounded by a system struggling to otherwise treat people in a timely manner.

One doctor has testified that he sees friends and family on his off hours, so as not to bump any other patients — but admits that this process still moves those patients ahead of others if subsequent help is required.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Duckett Memo

    <a href="http://www.edmontonjournal.com/health/Author+controversial+memo+testifies+knows+nothing+about+actual+queue+jumping+occurring/7650220/story.html">A controversial memo sent out in 2009 at Alberta Health Services came under fire </a>as it stated that it was not uncommon for health care executives to receive requests for faster care by prominent individuals. Source: Edmonton Journal

  • Raj Sherman Treats Fellow MLAs

    In December of 2012, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/13/health-exec-says-no-press_n_2294244.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-alberta">Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman said he has written prescriptions, given advice and diagnosed politicians who dropped by his legislature office</a> but said it wasn't preferential treatment. Source: CP

  • Calgary Flames Skip Lineup To Get Swine Flu Shots

    In November of 2009, <a href="http://www.ctvnews.ca/calgary-flames-score-flu-shots-skip-public-lineups-1.450313">Calgary Flames and their families skipped lines and received swine flu shots</a> at a special clinic, as thousands of people waited or were turned away for the H1N1 vaccination. Source: CTV News

  • Alberta Doctor Say ER Staff Told To Treat VIPs Faster

    An Alberta emergency room doctor told the Alberta Health queue jumping inquiry that medical staff in a busy ER were once pressured to provide care for a "VIP" ahead of a waiting room full of very sick people. Read the full story <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/05/alberta-health-queue-jumping-inquiry-doctors-told-to-treat-vips-faster_n_2246517.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-alberta">here</a>.

  • Vancouver Queue Jumping

    In 2007, <a href="http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=141706">Dr. Brian Day a top doctor in Vancouver and a former president of the Canadian Medical Association</a> admitted to queue jumping on two instances. He said it was not realsistic to expect people to not use their connections when their own or their family's health is at stake. Source: The National Post