Judy was a twelve-year-old girl. Her mother promised her that she could go to a special rock concert coming to their town if she saved up from baby-sitting and lunch money to buy a ticket to the concert. She managed to save up the fifteen dollars the ticket cost plus another five dollars. But then her mother changed her mind and told Judy that she had to spend the money on new clothes for school. Judy was disappointed and decided to go to the concert anyway. She bought a ticket and told her mother that she had only been able to save five dollars. That Saturday she went to the performance and told her mother that she was spending the day with a friend. A week passed without her mother finding out. Judy then told her older sister, Louise, that she had gone to the performance and had lied to her mother about it. Louise wonders whether to tell their mother what Judy did.
In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $400 for the radium and charged $4,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money and tried every legal means, but he could only get together about $2,000, which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying, and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said, “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from if.” So, having tried every legal means, Heinz gets desperate and considers breaking into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife.
Joe is a fourteen-year-old boy who wanted to go to camp very much. His father promised him he could go if he saved up the money for it himself. So Joe worked hard at his paper route and saved up the forty dollars it cost to go to camp, and a little more besides. But just before camp was going to start, his father changed his mind. Some of his friends decided to go on a special fishing trip, and Joe’s father was short of the money it would cost. So he told Joe to give him the money he had saved from the paper route. Joe didn’t want to give up going to camp, so he thinks of refusing to give his father the money.
Heather is part of a four-person mining expedition. There is a cave-in and the four of them are trapped in the mine. A rock has crushed the legs of one of her crew members and he will die without medical attention. She’s established radio contact with the rescue team and learned it will be 36 hours before the first drill can reach the space she is trapped in. She is able to calculate that this space has just enough oxygen for three people to survive for 36 hours, but definitely not enough for four people. The only way to save the other crew members is to refuse medical aid to the injured crew member so that there will be just enough oxygen for the rest of the crew to survive. Should Heather allow the injured crew member to die in order to save the lives of the remaining crew members?
A madman who has threatened to explode several bombs in crowded areas has been apprehended. Unfortunately, he has already planted the bombs and they are scheduled to go off in a short time. It is possible that hundreds of people may die. The authorities cannot make him divulge the location of the bombs by conventional methods. He refuses to say anything and requests a lawyer to protect his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. In exasperation, some high level official suggests torture. This would be illegal, of course, but the official thinks that it is nevertheless the right thing to do in this desperate situation. Do you agree? If you do, would it also be morally justifiable to torture the mad bomber’s innocent wife if that is the only way to make him talk? Why?
You are an emergency worker that has just been called to the scene of an accident. When you arrive you see that the car belongs to your wife. Fearing the worst you rush over to see she is trapped in her car with another man. She sees you and although barely conscious, she manages to mouth the words “I’m sorry”…You don’t understand, but her look answers you question. The man next to her is her lover with whom she’s been having an affair.You reel back in shock, devastated by what her eyes have just told you. As you step back, the wreck in front of you comes into focus. You see your wife is seriously hurt and she needs attention straight away. Even if she gets attention there’s a very high chance she’ll die.You look at the seat next to her and see her lover. He’s bleeding heavily from a wound to the neck and you need to stem the flow of blood immediately. It will only take about 5 minutes to stop, but it will mean your wife will definitely die.If you tend to your wife however, the man will bleed to death despite the fact it could have been avoided.Who would you choose to work on?
Alan works in the claims department of a major hospital. Paperwork on a recent admission shows that a traumatic mugging caused the patient to require an adjustment in the medication she is prescribed to control anxiety and mood swings. Alan is struck by the patient’s unusual last name and upon checking her employment information realizes she is one of his daughter’s grade school teachers. Alan’s daughter seems very happy in her school and he cannot violate patient confidentiality by informing the school of a teacher’s mental illness but he is not comfortable with a potentially unstable person in a position of influence and supervision over his eight year old daughter. Can Alan reconcile these issues in an ethical manner?