As we continue to dissect the actions on the part of JPS, could we argue that perhaps the deontological approach was possibly not the best guide to use in deciding the actions to be taken under the given circumstances? We will present the possible outcomes using the Utilitarian theory to provide a contrasting viewpoint. The deontological approach relies on duty and law as a guide to determine moral rules and principles; the utilitarianism approach relies on benefit and overall good to determine if a decision is moral or ethical. We begin by identifying the stakeholders involved in the case. For the sake of focusing on the actual participants in the case we have identified the group as the family, the hospital, and the community. The community is not mentioned in the case, but it will be directly affected by the final judgment on the case. The possible benefits to each group are as follows:
1. The family’s wishes would have been honored and life support would have been withdrawn thus allowing them to begin their grieving process and ultimately moving past the ordeal.
2. Although uncertain at the time, sparing the family the prolonged pain and emotional distress in seeing their daughter in a brain dead state and on life support.
3. The hospital would benefit by avoiding the filing of legal action, the negative publicity, and media attention.
4. Avoid public criticism that questions JPS willingness to adhere to the law when it conflicts with the organizations value system.
5. Eliminate the burden of the incurred cost on the community. The cost of sustaining life support for the prolonged period is estimated at $310,000. Due to the fact that John Peter Smith hospital is a publicly funded, county owned hospital, the bill may be passed on to the citizens of Tarrant County.(Panifer, 2014)
Would using the utilitarian approach lead to a better outcome for everyone involved? Unfortunately the previously mention benefits are unpredictable and contain an element of uncertainty and would not guaranty avoidance of legal liability. In complying with the wishes of the family, John Peter Smith hospital could have definitely avoided the drawn out emotional distress on the family. The national attention around the case, even at its initial stages could have still created enough negative public reaction and enough controversy to pressure authorities to consider legal action. The Attorney General could pursue criminal prosecution if it deemed the actions taken by John Peter Smith hospital as unlawful. Regardless of the actions taken by John Peter Smith hospital the case had gained enough national attention which has focused on the series of events that followed despite the decision made by the hospital. Discontinuing of the life support at the time it was requested by the family would have significantly reduced the financial cost of care. The cost would have been marginal in comparison to the current estimated cost and possibly...