Doctrine of double Effect

Topics: Ethics, Principle of double effect, Trolley problem Pages: 4 (572 words) Published: June 14, 2014

Ethics in Heath Care BHS 365
Module 1- Case Assignment
Introduction to Ethics in the Healthcare Setting

The Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) is defined as, if doing something morally good has a morally bad side-effect its ethically ok to do it providing the bad side effect wasn't intended. This is true even if you foresaw that the bad effect would probably happen. (Philosophy, 2004) Four conditions that must be satisfied before an act is morally permissible under the doctrine: The action must be either morally good or indifferent. The bad effect must not be the means by which one achieves the good effect. The intention must be the achieving of only the good effect, with the bad effect being only an unintended side effect. The good effect must be at least equivalent in importance to the bad effect. (Wedgewood, 2009)

Scanlon condemns all acts that target the death of an innocent person, regardless of whether or not these acts achieve this aim or not. Scanlon narrows his focus and attention to acts that result in the death of innocent people. (Lippert-Rasmussen, 2010)

I have chosen drug shortage as my point of discussion. Drug Shortage Scenario—using available medication to save five people with the known effect that a sixth person, deprived of the medication will die. Compared to Organ Shortage- withholding medication with the sole purpose of using their organs to save the first five. In my opinion this is separated by a distinct moral line. You have to base decisions between the lesser evil and the greater good that the action will have. In the case of drug shortage I completely agree with the actions taken, you are meeting the requirements of the greater good. The lives of 5 people should not be sacrificed because it's not fair that there is not...

References: Lippert-Rasmussen, K. (2010). Scanlon on the doctrine of double effect. Social Theory and Practice, 36(4), 541-564.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in its July 28, 2004 entry titled "Doctrine of Double Effect," explained: http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=159
Quinn, Warren (1989). “Actions, Intentions, and Consequences: The Doctrine of Double Effect”, Philosophy and Public Affairs 18: 334–351.
Scanlon, T. M. (2008). Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Thomson, Judith Jarvis (1985). “The Trolley Problem”, Yale Law Journal 94: 1395-1415. Wedgwood, Wedgwood, R. (2009). “Intrinsic Values and Reasons for Action”, Philosophical Issues 19 (2009): 342–63.
Wedgwood, R. (2009). Defending Double Effect. Ratio , 384-401.
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