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    Law and Ethics

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    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, so he can be removed. This is, unfortunately, not the Winnie the Pooh story where Rabbit has the option of waiting until Pooh loses weight.

    QUESTIONS:

    1. What is the correct action for this case?

    First, justify your decision using duty-oriented reasoning.

    Second, justify your decision using consequence oriented reasoning.

    Third, justify your decision using virtue-ethics reasoning.

    2. Based on your analysis, consider what might be the ultimate dilemma of ethics? Based on your consideration, answer the following questions:

    a. What happens when we apply differential standards (all valid) to healthcare decisions?

    b. How do we determine who is ultimately right when different decisions are reached?

    Please help me with these questions. Any help will be much appreciated. Thank you.

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    https://brainmass.com/business/business-law/law-and-ethics-138013

    Solution Preview

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    RESPONSE:

    Let's take a closer look through discussion and examples, for you to consider for your final copy.

    SCENARIO: 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, so he can be removed. This is, unfortunately, not the Winnie the Pooh story where Rabbit has the option of waiting until Pooh loses weight. What is the correct action for this case?

    1. First, justify your decision using duty-oriented reasoning.

    Duty-oriented theory bases the "rightness or wrongness" of an action on the action itself, not individual circumstances or consequences i.e. emphasizes duties or rules (deontology). This theory accepts that there are universal truths that apply to all persons equally and unconditionally or we have certain duties that must guide our behavior. These unwavering truths then require action to uphold the truth. Immanuel Kant, a Prussian philosopher, for example, is one of the most well known duty-oriented ethicist. Again, there are both critics and supporters of duty-oriented theory. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/

    In this scenario, ideally, the right thing to do would be to save everyone based on the universal truth that life is sacred, as that is our duty. However, the problem is that after you checked all possible escape routes and have attempted to extricate the scoutmaster, and it becomes clear that the only way to save the boys is to sacrifice the scoutmaster, so he has to be removed. As an adult, it is also your duty to protect children and, thus, save the children first. Therefore, the right thing to do is to save the children, even if it meant removing the scoutmaster at the possibility of him dieing. The universal truth is that all life is sacred, but children come first or in the duty sense, it is also societies duty to "protect the most vulnerable, i.e., children."

    For more information regarding virtue theory click http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/.

    2. Second, justify your decision using consequence oriented ...

    Solution Summary

    Referring to the case, this solution discusses the correct action for this case using three ethical approaches and reasoning for justification (duty-oriented reasoning, consequence oriented reasoning and virtue-ethics reasoning). Based on this analysis, it provides an example of ultimate dilemma of ethics and what happens when we apply differential standards (all valid) to healthcare decisions and who is ultimately right when different decisions are reached.

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