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Utilitarianism In Health Care Essay

1745 words - 7 pages

Grade Received - "A"

You are a paramedic arriving at an emergency scene. A group of scouts have entered a cave that is now filling with water. They were led into the cave by a rather large scoutmaster. Unfortunately, while leading them out of the cave, the scoutmaster somehow managed to get stuck in a narrow opening with only his head and shoulders protruding out. With his upper torso stuck outside the cave, it appears the scoutmaster will survive, but all the boys below will drown if they cannot escape.

After you have checked all possible escape routes and have attempted to extricate the scoutmaster, it becomes clear that the only way to save the boys is to sacrifice the scoutmaster ...view middle of the document...

In this project I will discuss what the correct action for this case by using duty oriented, consequence oriented and virtue ethics reasoning. I will then explain what happens when people applied differential standards of healthcare decisions and how does an individual determine who is ultimately right when different decisions are reached.

Sacrificing One Life in Order to Save a Dozen
There are always hard decisions that need to be made with individuals who are in the profession of saving lives. There are times when sacrifices need to be made in order to save the lives of many more.
What is the correct action for this case?
The correct action for this particular case is the ethical theory of utilitarianism. The whole idea behind utilitarianism is maximizing utility. When you make a decision about any particular course of action you want to find the action that is going to give the greatest good for the greatest number. In order to do so, we cannot consider only oneself but all persons involved. All people who are hurt or may benefit from this action must be considered in order to have an accurate assessment of the final outcome.
Also, from a moral standpoint, many people believe that any action is okay as long the benefits outweigh the cost but that is not true. The whole point behind utilitarianism is to find the one action that will maximize or produces the greatest net benefit when all things have been considered, there is only one right action. That will be the one that produces the greatest benefit. In this case when it comes to the scoutmaster and his scouts, is it better to save one life and lose a dozen or to sacrifice one life in order to save a dozen lives?
Utilitarianism is a consequence based ethical theory. Some may argue that utilitarianism is a theory in which mobile is based solely on happiness or pleasure and consequentialism is an ethical theory that determines what is right and what is wrong rather than what the outcome of a specific action has produced.
Justify your decision using duty oriented reasoning.
Duty oriented reasoning is self-explanatory. Decisions are based off the duty and obligations of a paramedic. It is the duty of a paramedic to maximize the amount of lives that can be saved in any given situation. It is also the duty of a paramedic to cause no harm to a patient. This is a special case because we will have to take the life of one in order to save many others but it must be conducted in the most humane way possible.
Justify your decision using consequence oriented reasoning.
If we were to differentiate consequentialism and utilitarianism actions based acts of right and wrong, consequentialists may argue that although taking the life of one person is wrong, it is acceptable because of the fact that they benefited and saving the lives of a dozen children. The anthologies may argue that sacrificing the life of one person is wrong regardless of the outcome. No matter what the case...

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