You have been elected as the district attorney. You get a phone call from a nursing home administrator who was a college friend of yours. She has a waiting list of 3,000 people who will die if they do not get into her nursing home facility within the next three weeks, and she currently has 400 patients who have asked (or their families have asked on their behalf) for assistance in helping them die from the famous Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s (fictitious) sister, Dr. Jill Kevorkian. The 3,000 people on the waiting list are desperate to live. She (the nursing home administrator) wants to know if you are willing to “look the other way” if she allows Dr. Jill to assist in the suicide of 400 people.
How would we use Utilitarianism to “solve” this dilemma?
What ethics did your friend, the nursing home administrator, use in deciding to call you?
What ethics are you using if you just “look the other way” and let it happen?