Duty-based action

The most acceptable duty-based action for this case is to refrain from sacrificing the scoutmaster.  It is the responsibility of the paramedic to preserve life, as well as to do no harm to any individual and sacrificing the scoutmaster is a direct violation of their duty (Reilly and Markenson, 2009).  Although this option can result in the drowning of the boys inside the cave as it continuously fills up with water, a paramedic should always find a way to avoid inflicting any harm on any human being.Based on consequence-oriented reasoning, not sacrificing the scoutmaster is also the most acceptable action.  The consequences of physically removing the scoutmaster in the presence of the boys may result in a traumatic experience on these young individuals, as this will be associated with severing a significant portion of the body of the scoutmaster.

  The sight of such action can affect the boys, wherein they may develop major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.Based on virtue and ethics, it is better than sacrifice one life in order to save several other lives.  It would be unacceptable to have the paramedic just stand there at the site and wait until some other solution is provided by other rescue groups.

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  Despite the trauma that may result in the boys as the scoutmaster is sacrificed right before their very eyes, virtue and ethics dictate that saving two or more boys from drowning in a cave is far more important than saving a single person such as the scoutmaster.The ultimate dilemma of ethics is the identification of the most acceptable action with regards to a specific emergency situation.  When differential standards are applied to healthcare decisions, there may be disparities in the results of each medical case, as different actions are undertaken in every situation.  This may impede improvement in healthcare services as different schemes are conducted to similar healthcare situations.

  In the case of the scoutmaster and the cave, the ultimate right decision will be that of what the scoutmaster will suggest.  If he suggests the he is willing to give up his life for the boys, then the paramedic should thus perform the physical removal of the scoutmaster from the cave’s opening.  If the scoutmaster says he doesn’t want to die, then the paramedic should then respect this decision.

ReferenceReilly, M. and Markenson, D.S.  (2009).

  Education and training of hospital workers: Who are essential personnel during a disaster?  Prehospitalization and Disaster Medicine, 24, 239-245

Author: Elvira Sanders


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