Ethics (Moral Philosophy or Axiology) is the branch of philosophy, built upon Epistemology and Metaphysics, which explores the question of what “ought” we to do. Ethics includes social and political philosophy, as well as aesthetics (the study of beauty). In daily ethical decisions most often we use choices we have learned from family, religious, and cultural influences. In more complex situations, when we encounter problems for which we have no experience, it’s not so easy. Using the theories of ethics presented in this module, how would you resolve this ethical dilemma? Include in your response how this issue might be addressed according to utilitarianism Kantian ethics. Cite correctly the information in this module, or any other sources you used.
You are on the transplant committee at a major regional not-for-profit hospital. A lung has become available for transplant. It has become clear that you hold the deciding vote in choosing among these transplant candidates. Who would you choose?
- Candidate 1: A three-year-old female with complications from end-stage cystic fibrosis. She could live six to twelve months longer. There is, however, no guarantee when another lung will become available.
- Candidate 2: A seventy-year-old male suffering from an opportunistic lung infection contracted while visiting an orphanage in another country which he supports generously. The infection is resisting treatment and it is questionable whether he will survive another month. He is also a major contributor to this hospital, leading a campaign to build a new pediatric cancer treatment wing.
- Candidate 3: A thirty-five-year-old female suffers severe lung trauma from an automobile accident two days ago which also involved her four children, whom she’s raising alone. The lungs are irreparable but she could survive several months with therapeutic care. She will not be able to function outside the hospital while awaiting transplant. The children suffered minor injuries but require homecare to be released from the hospital. There are no relatives or friends who can help.
- Candidate 4: A forty-five-year old male is in end-stage lung cancer. He is a life-long smoker. He is a local hero, having recently retired from a long career with the local major league sports team. He has donated much of his time participating in charity functions for area charities. He will not survive the next forty-eight hours without a transplant.
The prognosis for all is good with a transplant.
There is no idea when another lung will be available.