To make a man fight for his life when he has no hope


From: Munson, Ronald. INTERVENTION AND REFLECTION.6th ED.,Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company,2000 , Page 247, Scenario #8

“Apparently, he was inside the take with an oxygen hose to provide ventilation,” Dr. Mangel said. “There was some oil residue on the walls. When Mr. Golenga struck an arc to weld the seam, there was a flash fire.”

Mrs. Golenga gripped the hand of her nineteen-year-old son, Cervando. Both had been crying, but now listening was so important that they forced back their tears.

“How badly hurt is he?” Mrs. Golenga asked.

“Very badly,” Dr. Mangel said. “Most of his body is covered with severe burns, and his lungs are damaged form breathing in the fire and smoke.”

“Will he live?” Cervando asked.

“I have to be honest with you and say that I don’t think he will,” Dr. Mangel said. “We are giving him plasma and saline solutions to rehydrate him and antibiotics to try to stop infections. But he hasn’t got much of a chance.”

“The pain, what about the pain?” asked Mrs. Golenga.

“There’s only so much we can do.”

“There’s really no hope?” Cervando asked.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Dr. Mangel said. “There is always hope. But in this case it is very limited. He might die in a few hours, or he might die tomorrow or the next day.”

“Please,” Mrs. Golenga said. “Can you help him die? I know he doesn’t want to suffer if he has no real hope. He told me often ‘If something happens to me, don’t let them stick me full of needles and keep me alive. Tell them to put me out of my misery.’ Can you do that, Doctor?”

Are you sure that’s what he would want?” Dr. Mangel asked.

“My mother is right,” Cervando said. “I’ve heard my father say that many times. He said he never wanted to just lie around and suffer, being a burden to himself and everyone. We want to do as he wanted us to.”

“We could stop treating hom,” Dr. Mangel said. “then let nature take its course.”

“That sounds terrible,” Mrs. Golenga said. “To make a man fight for his life when he has no hope and ho help. It is cold and cruel.”

“I’m sorry,” said Dr. Mangel. “It’s all that the law permits me to do.”

  1. Reading Comprehension

State whether James Rachels in Active and Passive Euthanasia  (   would disagree with Daniel Callahan in  his article  When Self Determination Runs Amok ( in this case as to what to do and defend your answer giving reasons for what you think their positions would be.

Critical Thinking

Using the DIALECTICAL PROCESS  state what your ethical position would be on the Case of Mr. Mengel and why. What should Dr. Mangel do from an ethical viewpoint? You are to take a position and defend it. You should use some ethical principle to decide what you think is the morally correct thing to do. You must state those principles and explain how they have been applied to the situation. You should indicate that you have rejected alternative positions to your own and the reasons why you have done so.  In so doing you need to enunciate clearly the values and ethical principle(s) you are using to both reject the alternative positions and to defend or support your own.

Use this template or form to make certain that you include each part of the process-parts a to e

Label your parts with the letters a to e to make very clear that you have done each part.

Dialectical thinking: the 5 parts

  • a. Take a position on this question or issue Be as exact as you can be.  Be precise in your use of language (ethical principles and values).
  • b.  Provide the reasons why you think this position is better defended by reason and evidence than are the alternative positions Position defended using reasoning (ethical principles and values) in support of the judgment (conclusion of the  argument).  You state the reasons why the position you take makes sense and has evidence and reasons (ethical principles and values) to support it other than your feelings or personal preference or your opinion or what you were brought up to believe or what just about everyone you know thinks or believes.   Philosophers have offered such reasons (ethical principles and values) and evidence for the positions they have taken and you should consider them and if you agree you can and should so state them in support of your own position.
  • c.  State the reasons why you found the other positions flawed or less defensible than the one you are defending
  • d.  State the criticisms of your position
  • e.   Respond to the criticisms- rebuttal- how do you defend your position in light of those criticisms
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