Sunday, 5 June 2011

Dilemma ( Part II )

You can read part 1 on the following link: Dilemma ( Part I )

In Part I, I asked you to answer a question. 
Basically, the idea was that you had to decide between releasing someone into the general population who is infected with some virus which would kill thousands of people or kill him yourself, thereby saving millions but having to murder someone yourself. One of the major points of the question though also included the fact that the person was very willing to go back, no matter the consequences. Another one was that your actions would not be known by anyone but you. You're also supposed to consider that you are a doctor and have sworn an oath to save the lives of your patients.

"Release Him"
This part of the thread is for people who decided to release the person. The reason such people usually give are the following:
- I will not murder someone else as it goes against everything I believe.
- I would want to murder him, but I do not believe I would be able to do it. (If someone else does it, that's ok though) 
- Murdering is wrong/Pure Pacifism
- What the person does after he leaves my care is not my trouble. I am supposed to 'do no harm' first and foremost.
- I cannot be responsible for actions taken by all other people in the world, I need to heed my own ones and I have done all I can.

There probably would be a few more, but these relate to most of them. 
For these people I would like to ask a similar question, except that now your family lives in the patients hometown and some of your family members are part of Group A, the group that would die if he were to return home. Would you now act any differently ?

"Kill Him!"

This part of the thread is for people who decided to kill the person. The reason such people usually give are the following:
- Since the person knows he is going to be hurting people if he comes back, he is basically murdering them and so I am justified to murder him.
- Numbers. How many people would die if he went back and how many would die if he would not. Since the number is greater if he were to go back, it is justified to murder him.

These two are the most probable answers people would give to kill the patient.
To these people I would like to show them an excerpt of the modern version of the oath of Hippocrates, which is an oath doctors prescribe to in the US and in some other places in the world:
"I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God." - source: Hippocratic Oath
Or another one would be the "Physician's Oath" in the Declaration of Geneva:
 "I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity; the health of my patient will be my first consideration" - source: Physician's Oath
Does this not mean that as a doctor, you should not be the one who decides on the faith of others ? Your one and only task is to take care of your own patient ? As a doctor, your task is to be dedicated to life only. 
Would this not mean you would be in breach of two of the most widely used oaths which esteem the life of the patient as its main consideration?

Looking forward to hearing some responses here.
Isn't thinking just amazing ?

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