Ethics

In the case below identify the consequences of the action taken and decide whether the action represented the greater good.
A physician on the staff of an urban medical center is approached by a lawyer from a remote part of the state and asked to testify on behalf of his client, a rural doctor charged with criminal negligence in the care of a patient.  The lawyer admits that his client is guilty of the charge.  He goes on to explain that although the doctor is old and not well versed in the latest medical knowledge, she is nevertheless competent; the negligence she is charged with resulted from the strain of being the only doctor in a large mountain area with a number of tiny towns and a total population of two thousand people.  The lawyer pleads with the medical center physician to testify that the negligent act was proper treatment.  The physician does so.

Also answer this inquiry: Several years ago a married couple, faced with the tragic fact that the husband had terminal cancer, made an important decision: His sperm would be frozen so that the wife could conceive their child after his death. Three months after his death she was impregnated with his sperm and subsequently gave birth to a little girl.  The Social Security Administration ruled that the child was not entitled to receive benefits as his heir.  At first thought, you might be inclined to judge this ruling morally insupportable because the ideal of fairness requires that this child be treated as any other heir.  Resist that judgment until you have used your imagination to identify the significant consequences that would likely follow (a) denying the child the status of an heir and (b) granting the child the status of heir. Compare those consequences and make your decision. (Explain your reasoning.)

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