Ethical Dilemma! What would you do?

dali-melting-time-wall-clock                           Unfortunately I am still arriving twenty minutes late to my morning lectures(school breakfast club opens at 7:45 and no earlier)so I turn to my peers for a quick update. They kindly yet quickly provide me with our dilemma!?!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    Our dilemma consists of a pregnant woman leading a group of five people out of a cave on a coast when she gets stuck coming out of the mouth of the cave. The tide is due to rise. Unless they free the pregnant woman they will all drown, except the pregnant woman who has her head out of the cave. Someone has a stick of dynamite with them. It seems the only way to free the pregnant woman is to use the dynamite. Using the dynamite will kill the pregnant woman and possibly harm the others trapped in the cave but those trapped in the cave will definitely drown when the tide rises. Potentially all seven of these people could die if the ‘right’ decision is not made. The five trapped inside the cave will drown. The pregnant woman is stuck, unless some sort of miracle happens and help arrives she has no way of getting out and will eventually die.

Who can be set free??? What do the trapped do??? Do they, being the ones who are actually ‘able’ to do something to solve this dilemma, they are not the one stuck in the hole, incapable of making any contribution to setting all seven free, blow part of the cave up, hoping that gives them a hole to escape from, then save the pregnant woman. Blow the pregnant woman up(unblocking)allowing them to escape the cave’s mouth before the tide rises. They could all wait for help…I guess. Something needed to be done and quick. If the ‘right’ decision is not made everybody stuck, in a hole and trapped beneath will eventually die.The five trapped inside the cave will definitely die sooner than the woman who can breathe. She may die,if not discovered, but it will take some time and suffering. 1, wait for the tide to rise and frantically try to release the pregnant woman with force, then everyone is free but if freeing the pregnant woman fails all beneath the pregnant woman are now dead 2, use the dynamite to blow a hole through the cave walls, this puts everyone in danger and possibly no better than what they were before, just now without the stick of dynamite 3, position the stick of dynamite on the weakest part of the cave or on or very near to the pregnant woman, killing the woman and her unborn child, clearing the way for the five people trapped beneath. The killing of just two people seems the better option to take opposed to the death of seven.                                   doubt-clipart-stickman-hands-on-hips-looks-puzzled-clipart The problem I came across with this particular task was whose life is less or more important than the others. Is agreeing to ‘murder’ a woman carrying her unborn child acceptable in order to save your own life or putting your own life at risk in order to save someone else’s. This task has left me with a few things to think about. Which I will come back to later on in this blog.


Some of the students presented us with their dilemmas and what they thought would be the best way to solve said dilemma. One dilemma was a paramedic being called out to a car accident, once at the scene of the accident he comes face to face with ……one of the injured people is his beloved wife. The passenger is his wife’s lover. His wife is in a critical state and is about to die. The lover is in more of a stable state and with the correct care at the correct time he will surely survive.

What does the paramedic do??? Who does he save??? Why does he make this decision??? Does he begin the process of trying to save his wife. Or his wife’s dying lover. Does he leave his wife to die whilst saving her ‘bit on the side’ or leave his wife’s lover to painfully suffer with his wounds whilst attempting to save his critically ill wife. First thing’s first ……phone for back up! The obvious dilemma is the emotional attachment the paramedic has with his wife, how does he detach himself from the love he feels for his wife to allow him to react, behave and ultimately save lives in a professional manner without letting his emotions control him. This lead us all to have a think and then a discussion about what we would actually do in a situation like this. Some said they would 1, leave their wife to die due to the considerable amount of injuries she has. She is going to die anyway. Tend to the ‘bit on the side’ dismissing all emotional attachments with their wife and assure this guy survives 2, leave the ‘bit on the side’ and fully devote all skills to keeping their wife alive for as long as possible 3, leave them both, they both deserve to die.  The right decision (or what we think to be the right decision) was made in the end. Number 1 would be the best and professional way to react and behave in this type of dilemma.url-1   Another dilemma that was presented to us that made me have a think, being an inmate at a concentration camp where a situation arises between an inmate and a guard. The guard orders the inmate to kick the chair from underneath his sons feet in order to hang him or the guard will kill his son and another inmate. This dilemma leaves you with limited options. Kick the chair from underneath your sons feet ….’murder’ him….take orders from a bully….to save not only yourself another inmate too. Or resist and say no actually I won’t do as you ask of me. Knowing that a or some killings will go on. Maybe all three of you and some more….for resisting, going against the grain and upsetting order. Kill or be killed. I believe the decision made here was to kick the chair from underneath your child’s feet. For a few reasons, to save the innocent bystander, to, in a weird yet wonderful way, give the son a dignified death by kicking the chair yourself opposed to the boy being murdered by a  ……. murderer! And maybe abide by the rules. I see this dilemma  being a tough one as I myself have children and the thought of being ordered to take my own child’s life is beyond comprehension.

 Being presented with these dilemmas has given me a lot to think about. Not just …’what would I do’ but how the hell would I or anyone cope in such dilemmas. I guess our natural instinct to survive kicks in and our thinking and decision-making can lean towards ourselves or what we as an individual believe to be the best way to solve said situation. But we must remember we will all be presented with certain situations in life that requires us to be less emotionally attached and more practical and logical in order to protect yourself and the ones around you.  I feel today’s lecture and seminar activity has given me a lot to think about not just with how I will become a good educationalist but life in general can be a cruel and twisted place to be in but if looked at through a certain lens for certain situations these situations can be approached and tackled in the best manner true to oneself.


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