Utilitarian ethical theories

Utilitarian ethical theories


You will be presented a scenario that prompts the question, “Should you set aside your own beliefs and values to carry out a request by your administrator?” Then, you will debate one of the two sides with your classmates based on utilitarian ethical theories.

Scenario: An unconscious patient was being transferred from one location to another by an EMT and transporter. The patient was dropped, and you witnessed the incident. Your administrator, who is under extreme pressure to meet safety performance benchmarks, asked you not to document the patient fall or file an incident report.

Debate: Take the side of the administrator.

  • Consider the ethical issues of truth vs. deception, truth to self vs. loyalty to the organization, and promoting good vs. doing harm.
  • Apply an ethical theory or framework to justify your position.

Answer from an expert at https://ultimatehomeworkhelp.com

Utilitarian ethical theories

Utilitarian ethical theories are based on a person’s ability to predict the consequences of an action (Scarre, 2020). Based on the case scenario presented, I would fulfill my administrator’s request to not to file a report concerning the patient fall as he/she was being transferred. This collides with the ethical issue on truth versus deception. While one is morally compelled to tell the truth always, the deception in this case is necessary. This is due to the fact that safety performance benchmarks were not met, and hence, the administrator as well as everyone else involved in the patient transfer would lose their jobs (Kadivar, Manookian, Zarvani, Asghari, Niknafs & Okazi, 2017). More so, the hospital would undergo review from medical review board and even risk closure.

Truth to self vs. loyalty to the organization

Loyalty is a key objective in organizations, which is why the administrator made this call in order to save the hospital and its staff from being sued. This would however, lead to degradation of the administrator’s integrity for covering up the patients fall. All the same, it is a risk the administrator is willing to take to save the medical firm. In this case, loyalty to the organization outweighs truth to self despite it weighing heavily on the individual since the outcomes of doing otherwise have far reaching consequences for more individuals.

Utilitarian ethical theory justification

On the ethical issues of promoting good versus doing harm, utilitarian theory stipulates that doing harm is no worse when compared to allowing harm (Scarre, 2020). Hereby, if doing harm brings about the greater good, then so be it. From this case scenario, what was morally right according to the administrator, was to avoid by all costs the filing of reports concerning the case. More so, according to utilitarianism, the choice that yields the greatest benefit is hereby considered the one that is ethically correct (Scarre, 2020). If a report was filed, many people would lose their jobs which is not the greatest good; hence his decision is considered ethically correct.


Kadivar, M., Manookian, A., Zarvani, A., Asghari, F., Niknafs, N., & Okazi, A. (December 01,        2017). Ethical and legal aspects of patient’s safety: A clinical case report. Journal of     Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, 10.

Scarre, G. (2020). Utilitarianism. London : Routledge.

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