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One of the great and ongoing situations that calls for ethical decision making is the reality that there is almost always a greater need for something than there is a supply to meet the need.
For our assignment and scenario, the need is the life-and-death situation of the need for transplantable organs and the rather small and transitory supply. Hard decisions need to be made, and there is little time to think things through. These are emergency situations.
Transplantable organs become available on short notice – usually because a donor has died for reasons unrelated to the organ. They need to be removed and transplanted very quickly, because they only remain fresh for a limited period. And there is the whole complicated issue of tissue type matching. There is also an ongoing concern about how long recipients can wait. Your assignment is to make the decision using utilitarian ethics as this week’s classwork and discussions have brought you to that skill and then to write it up in the form of a Memorandum for the hospital records. Remember that this record could be reviewed by the Peer Review Committee or the Hospital Trustees at a later date.
This is Utilitarian Week in our course. Employ what you have learned from J. S. Mill and Utilitarianism this week AND one other of our course’s ethicists of your choice from week 1.
The Memorandum should be at 2 double-spaced pages, maximum of 3 pages, in a memorandum form ready to become an official item of record.
Here are some clarifications on the week two written assignment involving the heart transplant issue:
1. You should not be concerned with the proper format of a memorandum. I’m not going to grade on whether you get the format right, and would actually prefer if you simply wrote a regular paper. What is important, though, is that you write two full pages as required. If, for example, you add a giant memo header that takes up half of page one, that header will not contribute at all towards your two page requirement. Please write two pages and preferably not in “memo” style.
2. You must cover ALL THREE of the potential recipients, and explain how you “ruled them out”. For each one you did not choose, you need to explain why you did not do so. Please also fully explain why you chose the one you did choose. The three potential recipients are Jerry, Ozzie, and Lisa. The doctor is NOT a potential recipient.
3. Make sure that you include a reference to JS Mill in your work as that is required in the directions and is often skipped by students. You may have to use the web to find more on his theories. Here is one link to get you started. There are many web pages that cover JS Mill’s work. http://www.utilitarianism.com/jsmill.htm. If you do not include JS Mill and one other theorist, you will lose points.
Please let me know if you have any questions!