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Law and Ethics in Healthcare

Justify your decision-making concerning the following situation:

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?

First, justify your decision using duty-oriented reasoning.

Second, justify your decision using consequence oriented reasoning.

Third, justify your decision using virtue-ethics reasoning.

Based on your analysis, consider what might be the ultimate dilemma of ethics? Based on your consideration, answer the following questions: What happens when we apply differential standards (all valid) to healthcare decisions? How do we determine who is ultimately right when different decisions are reached?

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First, justify your decision using duty-oriented reasoning. (1 to 2 Paragraphs)
Deontological reasoning states a duty, observes that the present instance, real or hypothetical, falls under that duty, and proceeds to derive the obligation to carry out that duty in this instance.
Duty oriented reasoning tells you that you should attempt to save as many lives as possible and so the decision would be to sacrifice the scoutmaster. The dilemma of duty towards the scoutmaster vs duty towards the children is easily solved because of the larger number of students. This is ethical behavior. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is "good" or "right." The Western tradition of ethics is sometimes called moral philosophy. This is one part of value theory (axiology) - the other part is aesthetics - of the four major branches of philosophy, alongside metaphysics, epistemology, and logic. ethical motive: motivation based on ideas of right and wrong.

Second, justify your decision using consequence oriented reasoning. (1 to 2 Paragraphs)
Note, however, that we could often just as easily couch the same moral argument in goal-oriented or consequentialist terms. In such an argument we treat the principles as values rather than as imperatives, and as ends to be achieved in society, rather than laws governing action directly. Moral argument then becomes an exercise in evaluating the means to the end of the best possible society. The consequence based reasoning tells the paramedic to consider the consequences of sacrificing the scoutmaster vs. sacrificing the children. If the scoutmaster were sacrificed, not only he would lose his life but his family would suffer. On the other hand if the children were sacrificed, a larger number of persons would lose their lives as well as their families would suffer. This action is supported by moral values and rules.

Third, justify your decision using virtue-ethics reasoning. (1 to 2 Paragraphs)
Ontological reasoning is customarily couched in the terms of virtue or character. In such argument we appeal to the principles as character traits rather ...

Solution Summary

Extensive discussion (1,303 words) plus 15 references. Some of references are out of date but many are still useful.

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