Ok, Lead Surgeon, it is time to do what you do best! There is a lot at stake. The decision must be made almost immediately. Like all actions, you will need to write your decision into medical documentation before you begin. Yes, that means YOU! In the limited time before you would begin surgery, you need to consider the cases; the technical issues involved also, and write a Memorandum for the Record to document what decision you made and what considerations you included in your process. This will be on the record, so it needs to be thorough in case it needs to justify your actions at a later date.
One of the great 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 demand 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. Then there is the whole complicated issue of tissue type matching. There is also an ongoing concern about how long recipients can wait.
The “You Decide” tab to the left presents a difficult and painful dilemma to you in an imagined professional role. Go through the You Decide presentation, make the decision it calls for, and write your weekly paper to make your decision and explain, in the given format, your reasoning and justification for it.
Your dilemma is that you have to make a painful medical decision and to explain, in writing, who benefits from what you decided, who gets denied a needed benefit, and why. The document is to be in the form of an official memorandum that will be kept for the record and could be potentially read by not only your Peer Review Committee, but also possibly those involved in charitable fundraising to support hospital development and others with financial interests in the choice made.
You will see in the You Decide tab that there is time pressure in the simulated situation to make your decision, so remember that you would not have the luxury to dawdle in the decision-making process, and as the decision-maker, you would not have the luxury of consulting others. It all falls on YOU!
Include in the document the utilitarian ethical philosophy of John Stuart Mill (from the lecture and audio for this week) and ONE OTHER ETHICAL PHILOSOPHER of your choice that we have studied to date, and use both of those philosophies to bolster your decision. This paper will be at least two double spaced pages but limited to three pages. Remember both professional written form and potential audience, as well as tone when writing this sensitive paper.