Are we killing people with kindness?

From The Independent:

KindJenny needed to go to A&E. Now. Martha grabbed her keys and glanced longingly towards the paprika-scented stew. Jenny, her new neighbour from two doors down, had called just as Martha and her husband Jim had begun eating dinner. Martha chided herself: what was she doing thinking of her own needs in this sort of situation? She remembered Jenny's moans on the phone. With a whisk of her coat and a bye-bye to her husband, Martha slipped out into the chill. Seven hours later, utterly exhausted, Martha returned from A&E. Jim smiled ruefully as he welcomed her. “Always the do-gooder,” he said, kissing her on her forehead. “You've such a good heart. Sometimes too good.” Martha felt better at the kind words. Still, she would go about exhausted all day tomorrow. But she loved the children she cared for – that's why she'd chosen nursing as her profession. The thought slipped in unbidden: “All this drama, just because Jenny had a migraine?” Stop that, Martha told herself. Migraines, she knew, could be dangerous. And the medications had reduced Jenny's pain.

A few days later, Jenny called from work. Her older son wasn't answering the phone. He must have slept through his alarm. More than that, he'd just taken a new job; it was important he be there on time. “Martha, could you please check on him? The key is under the doormat…” Martha was always happy to help. But this? It felt odd. Maybe Jim had a point – maybe she was too kind. But still, Martha hated to disappoint. She'd always been that way; even as a child, she had been a mainstay in caring for her mother, whose depression had ultimately led to alcoholism. Martha found Jenny's son snoring on his bed. “What are you doing sleeping in?” Martha demanded, her voice shaking with anger. Martha was surprised – she rarely got mad at anyone. Except herself.

More here.