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Heinz Dilemma
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25 / M / Long Island
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Posted 3/6/13 , edited 3/6/13
Today in my psychology class we were discussing the topic of cognitive development and morality. As an exercise we had to give our opinion on the following scenario.


In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist 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 to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug-for his wife..

I was just interested in seeing the opinions of the users on this forum. Do you think Heinz should have stolen the drug, Why or why not?
Moderator XIV
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33 / M / somewhere that is...
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Posted 3/6/13
"Should he have stolen it?"

No.

That said the Doctor "should" have sold it for less or agreed to a down payment and could actually have his licensed revoked for violating the hypocratic oath. That and the husband could sue him. At least this is what would go down in America.
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Posted 3/6/13 , edited 3/6/13
First and foremost, there is nothing that could justify a criminal activity such as theft. Heinz should not steal the drug simply because it does not belong to him, period. He should continue to negotiate with the pharmacist until his wife passes away because it is the only morally correct choice in this situation.

If he were to steal the drug, he is placing too much emphasis on his own self-serving hierarchy in the decision-making process. He would be failing to recognize the pharmacist as a human being similar to himself who has the same exact needs as he does. This is why the choice to steal the drug would be completely and utterly wrong in this specific circumstance with the details given.
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Posted 3/6/13
He shouldn't steal it but he may save his wife's life so for them the end probably justifies the means.

A few years of jail time or a fine is probably worth it if his wife survives.

I would.
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23 / M / Hughesville, Penn...
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Posted 3/6/13

miserykitsune wrote:

He shouldn't steal it but he may save his wife's life so for them the end probably justifies the means.

A few years of jail time or a fine is probably worth it if his wife survives.

I would.


What makes the life of the wife more important than the life of the druggist?
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Posted 3/7/13

lordseth23 wrote:


miserykitsune wrote:

He shouldn't steal it but he may save his wife's life so for them the end probably justifies the means.

A few years of jail time or a fine is probably worth it if his wife survives.

I would.


What makes the life of the wife more important than the life of the druggist?


Well he isn't going to kill the druggist when stealing it but the wife will certainly die without it. Her life is probably not more important but the druggis and his chance of getting wealthy means little to this man but his wife clearly does. I'd imagine his thinking on a personal level.

Wihl 
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Posted 3/7/13
What was the costs to the druggist to develop the drug, not merely make it? The druggist could have developed the drug in response to his wife dying from the same cause years ago and spent everything he had on development.

The scenario states that the drug "might cure" the man's wife, not "would cure" which some seem to assume which is a pretty big assumption considering no information is given on how the doctors knew it might cure or how the druggist tested it on a "special kind of cancer".

The man decided jail time for a "might cure" chance was his better choice which is understandable. The "might cure" leads me to assume a small probabilty of a cure. I am ignoring the effect of radium would have on the body. Other thinking it, probably. Either way, he will be separated from his wife. If he chose not to become a theif, he could have been by his wife at the end lending comfort. The wife will die either way, just a matter of time.

The druggist wanted to be paid for his investment in developing the drug which is also understandable. The cost of making a drug is usually miniscule compared to the cost of development. Without the druggist there would be a zero percent chance of a cure.

Both parties did what they thought best morally from their viewpoint. The scenario tends to work because people assume that there is an objective moral standard that applies to everyone, not everyone has their own moral standard. And worse, people tend to apply their moral standard to others.

This reminds me of the recent news concerning a nurse who would not do CPR on a dying women. What was in the early news report, but omitted from later ones was she had a do not resuscitate order on file with the nursing home. The nurse respected her wishes. Why it was omitted from the later news reports, cynical me thinks the story would not be as emotional that way, "We will be back with the story right after these wonderful ads. Please watch them".

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25 / M / Long Island
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Posted 3/8/13

Wihl wrote:

This reminds me of the recent news concerning a nurse who would not do CPR on a dying women. What was in the early news report, but omitted from later ones was she had a do not resuscitate order on file with the nursing home. The nurse respected her wishes. Why it was omitted from the later news reports, cynical me thinks the story would not be as emotional that way, "We will be back with the story right after these wonderful ads. Please watch them".



I remember reading about that and the article didn't mention the DNR. It's really disheartening when you can't rely on the news to give you well...the news, or at least the full version of it.
Wihl 
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Posted 3/8/13
I really think of the "news" more as gossip now. Gossip better fits what they are doing. But it is not just the news, google search results are not neutral anymore so in a way, they are spinning the results of your searches just like the news, i.e. gossip organizations. Very sad.
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Posted 3/9/13
Well, what motivated Heinz to break into the drug store?
Self-interest? Because he is happier knowing his wife is alive.
Duty? Because this is what is expected of husbands.
Humanity? Because human life trumps monetary value.
Philanthropy? During the theft, Heinz grabbed all the medicine he could carry and will now give the remaining medicine to others in need. Or Heinz will sell the remaining medicine on eBay and anonymously reimburse the drug store owner for the property damage.
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20 / M / Delaware
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Posted 3/9/13

trinkit wrote:
Because human life trumps monetary value.


This is the only thing that needs to be said.
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44 / M / Oklahoma
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Posted 3/9/13
Its not much different then a robber coming up to you, pointing a gun at your wife, and saying "give me money or she dies". The only real difference is the direct intent....

But that is the monetary part really. Whenever money is involved it becomes an economic matter and alot of normal human nature changes... things thought immoral become moral when you add money into the mix.

Now the real problem is how stupid the druggist is to begin with.... He wants $2,000 for this medicine. If he sells it cheaper or agrees to a payment plan he gets money. If she dies.... he gets squat. One way he gets some now or all of the money over time. The other way he gets bubkiss...

As for stealing the drugs. Hell yah I would do it. And let them prosecute me. Let them throw me in prison. Better to have my wife alive then her headstone to read "Here Lies Jane. At least her husband is not a thief"

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24 / M / Pandemonium
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Posted 3/9/13 , edited 3/9/13
Yes.
Because if it saves his wife's life, it's worth it.
He may then take the proper punishment afterwards.

Besides, maybe it encourages the doctor not to be such a massive prick next time.
People without compassion for others deserve what they get... usually.
Posted 3/9/13
If you hear about it, you've got to have it at all cost what a joke human life is
kvi 
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29 / M / Planet Mars
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Posted 3/11/13
Yes, the drug can be remade, the life cannot.

There's also this, we have responsibilities to ourselves, to our families, to our communities and to other people. Based on where you grow up these responsibilities can be placed in a different hierarchies. For example, mostly in the US and other individual centered cultures, those responsibilities follow the order above. Going closer to a community based culture, you see almost the reverse order except responsibilities to a stranger will almost always be last in the order.

So you can look at it as Hein's responsibility to his wife vs his responsibility to the owner of the drug.
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