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Kyle Hicks M/W 3:50-5:10 Ethics Essay (Rough Draft) One evening some Jehovahs Witness parents brought

their child to the emergency room because their child was in dire need of medical attention in order for his life to be saved. The parents wanted the hospital to save their childs life but with out the use of a blood transfusion. In the Jehovahs Witness religion a blood transfusion is considered to be forbidden and a major sin, which will keep them from gaining, entrance into heaven. There was nothing else that the hospital was able to do to save the childs life without giving them blood so they gave the parents two hours to find another hospital or to change their minds but the at the end of the two hours they were empty handed. The hospital asked if they would change their minds but they refused. The legal department decided to go through with the procedure in order to save the childs life and the parents had to be forcibly removed from their childs side by security so the hospital could administer the blood transfusion. The child was saved by this operation. The hospital made the right decision by administering the transfusion and saving the childs life. In a utilitarian point of view this would have been the right decision as well. A utilitarian would have responded to this situation by going through with the operation because with the childs life being saved there is more happiness through everyone who knows the child. Even with the childs parents though they did not want the operation to be done I am sure that they are glad that their child is still alive. In this case of the Jehovahs Witness family the hospital made a moral utilitarian decision by administering the blood transfusion. Administering the blood to the child in order to save his life brought about the most happiness to the most people. Though his parents may have been upset at first since it was against their religion to do a blood transfusion there surely would have been more grief than happiness if their child had died, especially with them knowing that they could have done something to save him. The hospital would also not have been happy since their goal is to save lives rather than to forfeit them. The childs friends and relatives happiness is also maximized because they would not be losing a friend or nephew but keeping one instead. Overall everyone who knows the child is affected and now happy because he is still alive thus resulting in maximized happiness. The hospital did the moral utilitarian thing to do by saving the life of the child. First off I am going to define Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is is an ethical theory saying that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness". So in a way it is a form of consequentialism, meaning that the morality of an action is determined by the resulting outcome, and can only weighed the morality of an action after knowing all its consequences. Act utilitarianism states that, when faced with a choice, we must first consider the likely consequences of potential actions and, from that, choose to do what we believe generates the most pleasure for particular situations. The rule utilitarian, on the other hand, begins by looking at potential rules of action, and determines whether there is a rule that should be followed and what would happen if the rule were to be constantly followed. If adherence to the rule produces more happiness than otherwise, it is a rule that morally must be followed at all times. The hospital most likely had thought

about their decision using a form of both act and rule utilitarianism. One could argue though that this was not the right thing to do because it is causing grief to the parents because they now believe that their son is not going to get into their heaven since he had a blood transfusion, which is supposed to be forbidden in their religion. The boy might now be considered an outcast among their church because they dont believe life is important enough to fight for. Thus it would be causing grief to the family and the church because it goes against their beliefs. Though I do think that the utilitarian argument is stronger than the latter. A duty theorist would have answered this problem by saying it was the hospitals duty to save the childs life because as a society it is not morally right to let someone die when you can help him or her. So the parents in this case would have been the immorality in the situation and the hospital would have been the morality. Duty ethics is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. So in a duty theorists mind rules are meant to be followed as long as they are morally right and if they are it is your duty to follow them regardless of personal benefits from following or disobeying the rules. One could argue that since the parents brought their child to the hospital that its the hospitals duty to listen to the parents and do as they ask since it is their son. The stronger argument is that the hospitals duty is to save the child because that is why hospitals are created, to save lives. Not to listen to irrational people who would rather their child die than receive blood to live. The social contract theorist would say that the hospital did the right thing because it was socially obligated to do so. In our society it is not okay to let someone die if you have the means to save their life. it would be considered socially and morally wrong to let someone die unless perhaps if they wished for it, even then sometimes society has a problem with that. Social contract theory is the view that persons moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live. It tells us that laws are just if and only if they reflect the terms of a social contract that free, equal, and rational people would accept as the basis of a cooperative life together. An argument coming from this point of view would argue that the blood be administered to the child in order to save his life. It would be wrong as a member in society to let the child die because his parents did not want to give him the one necessity to live because they believe in something. The child has his own right to choose for himself even if he is not of the age to decide. He has a right to his own life and surely would not choose to die for his parents beliefs. The Jehovahs Witness would argue that since he was born into the family of that religion he could be said to believe in it as well and should decide based upon the beliefs he was brought up on. The utilitarian argument about the result in the most happiness amount the people affected is the strongest argument out of the above because the utilitarian view measures the happiness both of short term and long term for all the people. The childs life was saved, which is a good thing because life makes people happy. His parents though at first may be upset for religious reasons, were happy because their sons life was saved and gets to continue living. The hospital did their job; they saved the childs life, which is exactly what the parents had come to the hospital for. They wanted them to save their sons life but when implications were involved they 2

started to back out of it. By that point the hospital already had the moral obligation to save the boys life, which results in the most happiness for everyone involved. Though it may be against the parents wishes, it would not be right to let the parents determine the outcome of the innocent boys life. It would have been morally wrong to let the child die. Finally, though the hospital went against the parents wishes they did do the morally right thing. They saved the young boys life and in the utilitarian view of it, the most happiness was exceeded. A utilitarianist view along with duty theory, and the social contract theory, they all had in common that the morally correct thing to do was to administer the blood transfusion to the young boy resulting in saving his life. Ones life cannot, and should not, be determined by anyone else but themselves unless consent is given. The hospital did the right thing by removing the parents so they could operate because if they hadnt then there would be one less person alive today and that would have been a tragedy knowing something could have been done.