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DISCUSSION #002 - JOHN THE PARAMEDIC

1) Make a comment regarding your judgment of John’s decision. Was it right or wrong?
State why you think so.

The way I understand the context of John’s case was an ethical issue of weighing your
personal values and morals against professional ethics. Paramedics, like any other allied health
professions, have an oath to preserve life at all cost. According to the Law Enforcement and
Emergency Medicine: An Ethical Analysis, “ Emergency physicians should treat criminals,
suspects, and prisoners with the same respect and attention they afford other patients while
ensuring the safety of staff, visitors, and other patients” (Baker). Judging from the way he
initially responded to the victim, he was determined to save the life of the victim with multiple
stab wounds. But when John finally had a grasp of the whole scenario when he has interviewed
the woman and told him who obviously committed the crime, the plot took its turn.

Certain things are indeed morally good or bad independently of anyone's beliefs and
values. In John’s case, he has a professional obligation to perform yet his morals and beliefs got
in the way. Citing another example is a nurse who is a devout Catholic was asked to assist an
abortion case in a hospital wherein abortion is performed legally. Such scenario would surely
create a conflict between your conscience and career.

I cannot really say that John’s decision was not right. Perhaps his morals are so deeply
rooted within him. But I guess his decision might be wrong in a way since he has made an oath
of being a Paramedic which should uphold the dignity of a dying person at all cost. With his
decision, he also lost his career. He should have let the police or proper authorities handled the
case of the victim.

CITATION:

Baker, E F, et al. “Law Enforcement and Emergency Medicine: An Ethical


Analysis.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2016,
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27157455.

2) Are “Applied Ethics” involved in this case? Why or why not? State why you think so.

Obviously, John’s case is a clear example of Applied Ethics. By definition according to


Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Applied Ethics is the branch of ethics concerned with the
analysis of particular moral issues in private and public life. John’s case is an example of
medical ethics, a branch of applied ethics, wherein it is focused on the moral conduct and
principles that govern members of the medical profession. Although John is ethically wrong due
to his act of negligence to his professional duties, the motive and principle involved suggests
that he is still morally correct.
3) USING THE INFORMATION FROM THE CHAPTER 1& 2, think about the two
answers you gave above, and then describe your thinking in this case. Does your thinking
reflect:

1. moral objectivism, the view that some moral principles are valid for everyone;

2. cultural relativism, the view that an action is morally right if one’s culture approves of
it;

3. subjective relativism; the view that an action is morally right if one approves of it;

4. emotivism, the view that moral utterances are neither true nor false, but are expressions
of emotions or attitudes; or

5. some combination of the four approaches.

As I pored over Chapters 1 and 2, I can say that I consider my viewpoint as


Subjective Relativism. According to our prescribed textbook Doing Ethics, in Subjective
relativism, “you can insist that an action is right for you but wrong for someone else”
(Vaughn, p.23). In my perspective, I could say that what John did was against his oath of
letting the stab wound victim without medical attention. But that doesn’t mean he was
objectively wrong. He did not see any moral wrongness in his actions because he didn’t
perceive it as morally wrong. In subjective relativism, it simply implies that every person
has his/her own understanding of “right” and “wrong”. Personally, Subjective relativism
means what is right for another person, may not be right for me. It looks at the act as
conditioned by the person's knowledge and consent, by his background, training,
emotional stability, and other personal traits. It asks whether the act agrees or disagrees
with the person's own conscience.

CITATION:

Vaughn, Lewis. Doing Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues. New York:
W.W. Norton & Co, 2008.

4) AFTER you have made your comment, read through the comments of your classmates,
and respond to at least TWO of their comments on the same subject.