Ethical Decision Making
Hospital Memorandum on Heart Transplant
To: All the stakeholders
From: Lead Surgeon
Date: February 13th, 2020
Subject: RE: Decision regarding a preferred patient for heart surgery
Content: Ethical decision making
I would like to bring to your attention the difficult situation the cardiologist department is facing regarding making a decision of a preferred patient to receive a heart surgery that has just been received from a donor. It is important to mention the calibre of the three heart patients within our premise who are in dire need of a transplant. The first patient is a middle-aged man with a family to take care of, the second patient is twelve years old girl who has been having series of health conditions, the third patient is thirty-eight years old homeless man and a drug abuser also, the young female-identified above is accompanied by a thirty-five years old oncologist who is her father.
Following the above challenge, being the lead member and a lead surgeon in the cardiologist department, I am tasked with the responsibility of making an ethical decision on who is most suited to receive the heart transplant. Ensuing to this, I have decided to offer the available heart from the donor to the fifty-five years old family man, basing my decision on a simple ethical practice. Considering the remaining patients, the young female has been having an array of health-related issues which makes her health condition untrustworthy, hence trusting her with a heart from a donor at the expense of others is not convincing. On the other end, there is a thirty-five-year-old make man who is homeless and drunkard, therefore, chances of taking care of the donor’s heart are slim due to his drinking habit. The fifty-five years old man has a family that depends on him, therefore according to act utilitarianism, the man is more suited to receive the transplant as the benefit will go to the maximum number of people.
According to Hobbes (2016), utilitarianism philosophy, it states that an act is considered ethical if the action is inferred by the ability to invoke happiness or pleasure to the maximum number of people. Simply, the utility of all individuals should be considered. Therefore, the fifty-five years old man stands to provide maximum utility given that he has a family that depends on him, unlike all other patients. Utilitarianism considers an act to be good if the outcome is beneficial to the majority of members within the society. Another ethical philosophy upon which my decision is based on is consequentialism, which infers that an end justifies the means. Consequentialism bases its argument on the fact that for an act to be considered morally upright, it must have positive consequences benefiting the majority of the society members (Driver, 2019). Therefore, the twelve-year-old female stands to be denied the much-needed heart transplant because she acts stands to benefit just a few embers of the society, the same case applies to the drunkard who is the only person who stands to benefit from the heart transplant.
Considering act utilitarianism and consequentialism philosophical principles, I have reached the decision to accord the transplant to the fifty-five years old man due to the reasons mentioned above. It would be our wish to see his family members celebrate and continue enjoying the benefits of having a breadwinner in the family. It is also important to witness the consequences of making such a difficult decision within a short time. It is, therefore, my plea to all the stakeholders to support me in this decision. Thank you for your time and support.
The Lead surgeon.
Driver J. (2019). The History of Utilitarianism. Principles of philosophy. Published, September 23, 2019.
Hobbes T. (2016). The basics of philosophy: A huge subject is broken down into manageable chunks. February 3, 2016.