The Stolen Drug
In Europe, A woman was near death from a rare kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that druggists in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him. He paid $200 for the radium and Charged $2,000for a small dose of the drug.
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The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together $1,000, which was half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell cheaper, or let him pay later. But the druggist said, “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.” Heinz became desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife.
When confronted with the moral dilemma of either letting his wife die or stealing the drug, Heinz stole the drug.
Case Question: Was Heinz right or wrong?
Heinz Reasoning: Should I steal?
Modern society adheres to humanistic ideas and considers the life of any individual the greatest value. It means that the existence of any human being should be protected by various social institutions including law. However, numerous ethical concerns are resulting from the given statement. The fact is that many ambiguous situations challenge the traditional value system because of the unique set of circumstances.
The above-mentioned case is of this sort. One realizes the fact that Heinzs motifs are clear and honest. He steals not to earn some money or obtain some other benefit; however, he tries to save his wifes life which is the greatest value for him. Yet, his actions contradict the accepted behavioral pattern as society condemns law-breakers and provides certain punishment for them. In these regards, a certain controversy appears.
Committing the crime Heinz acts unethically. At the same time, consideration of his motifs promotes a better understanding of the whole case. The end justifies the means. Heinz’s desire to save his wife and guarantee her recovery should be accepted and respected. The action of this kind requires great courage and determination. Furthermore, there are no other ways to obtain the needed treatment or gather the needed sum of money.
That is why Heinzs actions could be considered appropriate especially in terms of the given context. As stated above, human life is the greatest value that could not be measured by various sums. Having no choice, Heinz accepted the only right decision which helped to protect his family and guarantee his wife recovery.
Nevertheless, the ambiguity of the situation is conditioned by the ethical side of the given problem. It is obvious that Heinz tries to save his wife, and his actions should be considered using this perspective. Otherwise, he breaks the law and creates a precedent that could be used by other breakers to justify their actions. There are millions of people who do not have money for treatment and live in extreme poverty. However, they do not steal, trying to act within the limits of the law, and remain members of a certain community. Another fact is that the law serves as the basis for the further evolution of society, and it is above moral and ethical questions.
Dura lexes sed lex. The law is rough, but it guarantees the existence of society and protects it from anarchy. Under these conditions, Heinzs action could be considered as an attempt to undermine the grounds of modern society and neutralize the power of law in terms of some personal needs. His desire to save his wifes life could not excuse the wrongful character of the action and its pernicious impact on the further development of society. All its members should act within certain limits to preserve the existing model and avoid chaos and anarchy. If all people choose the given pattern to solve their problems, society will collapse, and human life will lose its value.
Altogether, in consideration of the motifs of Heinzs actions, they still could be described as unacceptable and wrong. This conduct creates a dangerous precedent that could trigger the significant increase in the number of crimes resulting from various personal needs and the desire to obtain some extra benefits to improve the living conditions.