Question

You are the elected district attorney. You receive a phone call from a nursing home administrator...

You are the elected district attorney. You receive a phone call from a nursing home administrator who was a good friend of yours in college. She has a waiting list of 3,000 people who will die if they don't get into her nursing home facility within the next 3 weeks, and she currently has 400 patients who have asked (or their families have asked on their behalf) for the famous Dr. Jack Kevorkian's (fictitious) sister, Dr. Jill Kevorkian, for assistance in helping them die. The 3,000 people on the waiting list want to live. She (the nursing home administrator) wants to know if you would agree to "look the other way" if she let in Dr. Jill to assist in the suicide of the 400 patients who have requested it, thus allowing at least 400 of the 3,000 on the waiting list in.

What ethics did your friend, the nursing home administrator, use in deciding to call you?

Homework Answers

Answer #1

I think the Nursing Home Administrator has used Utilitarian ethics in deciding to call the District Attorney. Utilitarian ethics suggests that any act becomes morally right if it maximizes utility or increases the benefit to many and reduce harm. The act should benefit more number of people in order for it to qualify as a moral act.

When the Nursing Home Administrator requested the district Attorney’s suggestion in this case she was trying to save 400 people on the waiting list while at the same time reducing the pain and sufferings of people who opted to die so that they could make room for the people who wanted to live. So, the benefit is increased for the 400 out of the 3000 people and reducing harm to the 400 people who have incurable disease and opted for euthanasia.

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