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Ethics and Values Case Study - Mercy Killing, Euthanasia

A 24-year-old man named Robert who has a wife and child is paralyzed from the neck down in a motorcycle accident. He has always been very active and hates the idea of being paralyzed. He also is in a great deal of pain, an he has asked his doctors and other members of his family to "put him out of his misery." After several days of such pleading, his brother comes into Robert's hospital ward and asks him if he is sure he still wantes to be put out of his misery. Robert says yes and pleads with his brother to kill him. The brother kisses and blesses Robert, then takes out a gun and shoots him, killing him instantly. THe brother later is tried for murder and acquitted by reason of temporary insanity.

Was what Robert's brother did moral? Do you think he should have been brought to trial at all? Do you think he should have been acquitted? Would you do the same for a loved one if you were asked?

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You have asked for an opinion-based response to four questions as they relate to the above case study.

Was what Robert's brother did moral?

This question depends on what perspective you are looking at the situation from. From a medical professional perspective, Robert's brother did something very immoral. Medical ethics demands that life be preserved at all costs. This ethical thinking does not take into consideration various situations or even the wishes of a patient. For medical professionals, their moral directive is to preserve life, and in this case they would denounce Robert's brother's actions as immoral.

From a legal perspective, Robert's brother broke the law since one of the fundamental rights of an individual is the right to life (as in the US slogan "Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness") However, the law ...

Solution Summary

This solution offers an opinion-based response to four questions as they relate to case study focused on allowing someone to die by way of mercy death, mercy killing or euthanasia.