Ethical Dilemma Case Study

The dilemma (in logic) is a proposition to which two conflicting signs are prescribed, excluding the third. When we say “there is a dilemma in life,” it means the situation when a person is faced with the necessary choice between two identical opportunities. In other words, a dilemma is a situation in which the choice of one of two opposite possibilities is equally difficult. These situations arise wherever there is an interaction between two or more people. For example, they are typical of social work, medicine, and business.

Stumbling Blocks in Social Work

Social workers in the United States distinguish the following most frequently encountered dilemmas: the difference between the religious views of the worker and the bearer of social services; the discrepancy of ethno-cultural traditions, participants of social action; the discrepancy between the opinions of the social worker and other participants in the process about the legislative system. The nature of the ethical dilemma may depend on the cultural, political conditions of the country in which social work is carried out. This makes social work ethical dilemma case studies relevant topic for research. Conducting such a work may help to develop unified values and attitudes for both the social worker and the client, taking into account the specific features of a certain mentality.

A case study on ethical dilemma allows talking about the following situations. Moral paradigms and value orientations such as life, human dignity, humanity, good, and justice are the very foundations on which social work is built. In practice, social workers have to face a variety of ethical problems and dilemmas due to their obligations towards clients, colleagues, their own profession, and society as a whole. Most of the difficulties for the social worker are due to the need to choose between two or more conflicting responsibilities and obligations. A case study on an ethical dilemma in this area can be conducted from the point of view of a legislation of a particular country. Legislation can not provide for all the diversity of social life, so sometimes the client’s well-being comes into conflict with it. In some cases, social workers state that laws and regulations should not be obeyed; otherwise, the client will be harmed.

Such an investigation can also be made from the perspective of personal and professional values of a social worker. He may not agree with the client for political, religious, moral or other reasons, but should fulfill his professional duty. The opinions of social workers about which values to give preference to, do not always coincide.

Some Problems in Medical Ethics

Ethical dilemma case studies in health care are particularly special and require more than just a detailed investigation. This is due to the fact that human life and health form the basis of this research are the most significant values for everyone. Since the time of Hippocrates in medicine, there have been common ethical tenets. These tenets are aimed at protecting the interests of the patient, and their humanity is obvious. But in real life, there are situations in which it is impossible to fulfill one postulate without breaking others. And then the doctor, when making the decision, is forced to go on a rather slippery path of causing “least evil.”

Ethical dilemma case studies in nursing and medicine face various problems. For example, a research can be conducted under conditions of wartime. In this situation, people who have a chance for recovery will be rescued, and the rest will be left to die. Leaving a person without any hope of salvation is impossible – this is contrary to ethics. To save one, forgetting about the others, is also impossible. There is no ethically flawless exit, and therefore the practical task is to save life and health of as many people as possible.

Here is another example of an ethically ambiguous situation that can be the basis of a case study of an ethical dilemma. According to surveys conducted in the USA, 68% of donors and 87% of volunteers who agreed to a clinical experiment were at that time in straitened financial circumstances. Is it ethical to take advantage of people’s difficulties? In addition, frequent blood donation and experiments are unequivocally dangerous to health, but without them, modern methods of treatment would not be found.

However, the volunteers themselves decide to participate in the experiment. But laboratory animals have no such choice. The success of medicine is paid for by many lives: the suffering and death of thousands of innocent creatures. Seeking to find a cure for cancer, the doctor-researcher during his work grafts cancer to perfectly healthy mice and monkeys. Without such experiments, no one will try to test the new methodology on a human. The torture and death of laboratory animals are also a serious ethical problem of medicine.

One Real Case to Study

The problem of life and death holds a special place in medical ethics. The subject of death with the consent of the patient is especially painful and requires detailed development. The ethical side of the matter can be studied by the example of Jack Kevorkian. He came to believe in the ethics of euthanasia in cases where the patient can no longer be helped, and his suffering is not worth living. In 1989, he designed a system for supplying analgesics and toxic drugs to the blood, for those patients who were unable to commit suicide by other means. The first patient, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, committed suicide with the help of such a machine on June 4, 1990. This sounds shocking, but the right to euthanasia should also be studied on, unfortunately, already real examples, taking into account both medical and ethical tenets, which in this case are completely inseparable.

Possible Dilemmas in Business

Ethical dilemma case studies in business also face a lot of difficult problems. Every entrepreneur faced with the temptation to produce low-quality products and to deceive his consumer, gain advantages for himself by giving bribes, to keep silent about the consequences of choosing a particular service, to evade taxes, or just do criminal business. On the one hand, the goal of the entrepreneurial activity is to make a profit, but there is always a temptation to get more profit by dishonest means. Executives in all these conditions are faced with the choice of making a profit for themselves or making good for others losing some part of possible revenues.