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Absolute mayhem has just occurred in California, as a devastating 9. 3 earthquake has hit, leaving San Francisco and surrounding cities completely destroyed. With reports of over 100, 000 deaths, and four times that many severe sustained injuries, there are is no time to waste. A vast amount of the city’s buildings has been damaged, if not completely destroyed, leaving majority of the population displaced. During this traumatic time, the people of San Francisco are desperate for help from multiple sources, but we will seek the ethical views of the Mayor of San Francisco, the Director of FEMA Federal Emergency, the Director of the San Francisco Joint Hospital Response Team, and the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of San Francisco. Each person listed above holds a different ethical view on how to best handle their pre-determined roles in immediately assisting the population.
As the Mayor of San Francisco, your main responsibilities to coordinate relief agencies throughout the city and address the city with words of empowerment. The first duty to serve after such a tragedy is to contact FEMA for the immediate location of all injured or missing persons within the rubble and contact the San Francisco Joint Hospital to prepare for the large number of injuries that will need immediate medical attention. The Mayor will be using the theory of Virtue Ethics, as he will need to be highly responsive to all of the demands necessary in this devastation, by doing the right thing, at the right time, the right way, for the right reasons. The next task for the Mayor, is to formally address the population about the steps being taken thus far, that relief agencies are diligently recovering those lost within the rubble and treating all injured persons. At this time, the Mayor asks all unharmed individuals to move to a secure location designated by FEMA, while search parties continue. As the citizens have already experienced enough trauma, this request is to ensure that those unharmed do not witness the removal of the deceased from the debris. The Mayor must express that he understands that it is a difficult thing to ask for patience at this time, but the cooperation of the city is necessary at this time. A virtuous person must emanate a certain level of “practical wisdom”, which is a very important trait to have as the Mayor in this situation. Mention that more announcements will be made as information has been uncovered.
The next step is to contact the Senior Pastor to host a service for the families bereaved of deceased or missing persons at a safe location designated by FEMA (assuming that the church has also been destroyed. ) Update citizens who wish to seek pastoral care may do so at the designated location, let families of missing person know that we are working as fast as we can to find those and reconnect them with their loved once. The ethical theory that the Mayor rejects is Ethical Relativism, because there is a skepticism about ethical reasoning, where there is a possibility that there are both right and wrong answers to a number of ethical questions; two different types are individualism relativism, in which ethical beliefs and judgements are expressed through the individual persons own attitude and moral viewpoint, and cultural relativism, in which ethical values stem and differ from each society, and moral judgement is based on the views within these cultures and societies.
Another reason the Mayor rejects relativism is a view that claims it is nearly impossible to know something, since we only have the ability to see things form our own perspective, rather than how they truly exist, called skepticism. The Director of FEMA Federal Emergency Response has a lot of work to do in this time of tragedy, working to provide temporary housing, searching for missing or injured persons, removal of rubble and deceased individuals. Firstly, the maximum number of response teams must be sent out immediately, to rescue all injured and living persons, as well a team to remove rubble and find trapped persons. An ethical theory that the Director of FEMA will reject is Egoism, due mainly in part that Egoism is a view that we should only pursue our own self-interests. Egoism is a view that contradicts the directors chosen ethical theory is Utilitarianism, which results in the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Finding the greatest happiness comes from combining the 5 following measurements; pleasure minus pain (each moment of pain or happiness cancels out a moment of pleasure of happiness, the amount of each left over is the net happiness- for this scenario, it is a devastating time, but you may potentially survive), intensity (the more intense the pleasure the better- being rescued from the rubble with minor injuries will result in the most pleasure/ happiness for that person and their family), duration (the longer lasting the pleasure the better outcome, even if it there are a fewer number of people affected, the longer time period of happiness is the goal- each person rescues will be happy that they survived for time to come, as well as each of their loved ones), fruitfulness (this depends not only on the immediate pleasure, but also seeks long term results- this moment is currently traumatizing, you could have sustained serious injuries, but when you pull through, you and your loved ones will be happy you survived for time to come), and likelihood (when given two available alternatives to choose between, we should estimate the probable outcome of each option prior to making a comparison of each net utility; choosing an option with less beneficial results, is a smarter choice if the chances of it coming true are more likely. The chance itself is not the only thing that counts, but the size of the prize also matters; if we chose to not even try to rescue anyone, the outcome will obviously be a total of zero lives saved. Contrary, if we try our best to rescue as many as possible, but only manage to rescue 3 out of 100, 000 people, the outcome of lives saved is 3. Therefore, even with the chance of only saving 1 life, is better than choosing not to try. )
After sending out response teams, the Director of FEMA will reach out to the Director of the San Francisco Joint Hospital for treatment and/or transport of severely injured persons, i. e. those with severe head injuries, large open wounds, large amount of blood loss, and persons that have been crushed or impaled by debris); It is important to remain in contact with the Mayor for any updates regarding new information on location of care needed. As the Director of FEMA, it is also your responsibility to provide temporary housing to those who lost their homes, in which the best option would be to use a large gymnasium, stocked with food, water, and a place for displaced persons to sleep. The amount of pressure that lies on the shoulders of the Director of the San Francisco Joint Hospital, is immeasurable. You are responsible for making the decisions of who to care for, and how to care for them; in other words, it is your choice of who lives or dies. In the theory of Natural Law, it holds that ethical norms can be found from examining natural human functions. While these laws are supposed to be universal and stable, using nature to determine natural law is harder than one may think, due to the fact that one would need to possess the ability to read nature. Assuming that it would seem fairly easy to read the panic-stricken situation, being able to quickly decipher what nature deems the correct moral choice could be problematic, since not all people read the same. The Director must immediately send response teams with all available ambulances to locations in which the Mayor has deemed it necessary for emergency medical attention; perhaps a few ambulances should even stay on site to treat injuries that are not as severe as other-rather than transporting every individual to the Joint Hospital and overcrowding the ER- while majority of ambulances will be used for hospital transport and preparation for whatever necessary surgery or procedure is needed once arriving at the hospital. The directions given to each member of the response team should be clear and concise, each member of the team should have a thorough understanding of where they’re supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing.
Along with knowing exactly what their current priority is, members of the emergency response team should also be able to quickly determine which injured persons need immediate attention or transport to the hospital, which persons whose injuries are less life threatening that can be treated at clinics, those who’s injuries are the least severe and could possibly be treated on site, with a few stiches. It is of the upmost importance that the San Francisco Joint Hospital is fully prepared to treat as many injuries- possibly ranging from concussions to loss of limb- as possible in an efficient manner, time is of the essence, and every second counts. After transporting from site to hospital, the ambulances should return to scene; to keep from overcrowding the devastation or backing up the hospital’s emergency room, ambulances should be sent out in groups of three to five vehicles. This choice seemed to be practical, since there is a higher possibility that there will be enough hospital staff available to give proper care upon arrival. I know it may be a longshot, but each injured person should make it from ambulance to surgery in a short period of time. Due to the fact that time is so precious, members of the response team do not have any to waste trying to dictate the will of Natural Law. This time is far better spent, to the best of their abilities, saving as many lives as possible.
Kant Moral Theory seemed to be the best choice ethically, for then Director of the San Francisco Joint Hospital, in this scenario. The theory holds the responsibility to do what it right, treating all persons equally. Not only is this a necessity, it is morally sound; perhaps there were 5-10 persons waiting to seek medical attention in the ER, but the eleventh person to come in is one of the nurse’s husbands. Treating him first would not only be ranking his state of being higher that the other 5-10 people that arrived before him. Along with aiming to be consistent, Kant’s Moral Theory also puts an emphasis on fairness, maximum happiness (in this case the maximum happiness would be maximum survivors), and the production of good consequences. While keeping in touch with the Mayor, it is also important to maintain clear communication with the response team. Every team member should be fully aware of the severity of this catastrophic event, and the likelihood of successfully saving each person is very low. The number of injuries that are too severe to rescue is very high, and even though they cannot all be saved, there is a way to ease their pain and suffering, by administering strong pain meds like morphine. This entire experience is immensely traumatizing to everyone involved, it would probably be very beneficial to assign a group of psychological therapists for those that need assistance coping with near death experience, loss of a loved one, and potential PTSD. Often portrayed as a female dominated theory, Ethics of Care stresses the importance of nurturing relationships.
As Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of San Francisco, having the ability to sympathize with the injured as well as families of such persons during this difficult time is much needed. This theory highlights the ability to notice when persons are vulnerable and in need, as well as being capable of providing them with proper care. For start, the Pastor must contact the Mayor of San Francisco for briefing on the situation, and to get a location in which he shall host a service for those in need of spiritual guidance. This service is to put faith back into the hearts of those who feel all is gone and provide a place for the families of lost, injured or deceased persons to grieve and pray. The primary moral obligation in Ethics of Care is to prevent further harm and to help people; by providing pastoral care to those traumatized and all but broken, the Senior Pastor is doing just that. Many would believe that due to religion, the Pastor may have chosen the Divine Command Theory, however I beg to differ. The Divine Command Theory is the belief that any ethical standards are overall based on whatever God orders. While this may be overstepping boundaries for some, I question that if there were in fact an all-knowing being, why would he not prevent such a catastrophic event, resulting in 100, 000 deaths and more than 400, 000 injuries, from happening in the first place? Certainly, that would not be a difficult task for an all-powerful being such as God. It is also crucial that the Pastor remain in contact with FEMA as well as the San Francisco Joint Hospital, to ensure that all bodies of the deceased that have been pulled from the rubble, shall be disposed of in a humane way, whether it be a burial service or cremation. Once the city has been cleaned up by FEMA, there will be many funeral services that will need to be hosted, as each life lost is carried on by the family and friends of that person. During this devastating it will be difficult for many to go on about their lives seemingly unaffected, therefore it is important for them to be able to seek emotional and spiritual guidance from their Pastor, for a while to come. The destruction that San Francisco, California has endured is imaginable, but as time passes and the city is rebuilt, the suffering of all those involved will eventually ease.
The ethical theories held by the leaders that helped shine a light during this dark time, were the Virtue Ethics used by the Mayor of San Francisco, the Director of FEMA Federal Agency Response using Utilitarianism, Kant’s Moral Theory by the Director of the San Francisco Joint Hospital Response Team, and the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of San Francisco through Ethics of Care. While none of their tasks were easy choices, I believe that each of the moral theories used were beneficial to helping the city through the tragedy of the San Francisco, 9. 3.
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