Ethics refers to the well-founded and determined standards defining "what is right or wrong". These prescribe what individuals are supposed to do when confronted with circumstances, situations and events involving the values and virtues related to fairness, rights, integrity, obligations, honesty and or other specific virtues. Practical application of ethical concepts and principles in real life situations is reflected through applied ethics, which widely describes the vast ranges of possible circumstances in which humans have to involve virtues in order to make the best possible ethical choices, when faced with ethical dilemmas. Ethical decision making in specific situations, demand the acknowledgement of all involved, ethical issues, moral values, the subsequent point of views and their possible implication regarding the issue at hand. Mr. Brown is faced with an ethical issue regarding the best course of action to take concerning the Mike Apollo. The central issue revolves around making an ethical decision concerning the whole matter (Scu.edu, 2011).
As the doctor in charge of Mr. Apollo's medical case, Mr. Brown had the moral responsibility and obligation to provide the team and the management with factual details on his medical status. The prognosis warrants surgery for the quarterback together with "intense physical therapy", rather than a quick fix that would suit the demands of the team, the management board, financial partners, and the Lumberjack fans. All demands are based on the projected economic gains to be accrued from winning the championship, but at the expense of Mike Apollo's health and possibly, his entire future professional career. Dr. Brown providing an honest prognosis outlines the risks involved in applying injections "to manage the pain and swelling", to the conclusion of the playoffs. Professional ethics in medicine demand the provision of accurate and true medical opinion to the involved parties. In this case, the medical status and the medical risks attached are acknowledged by all, but other interests exist in competition with the health of the quarterback. Dr. Brown knows the sacrifice OSMA had to make in getting the lucrative position of providing medical services to the Lumberjacks and the future prospects for the company to be gained from their win.
His own personal ambitions of gaining respect from peers and building a prestigious reputation for later private practice, as attached to OSMA, is at stake. In addition to these, contravening the wishes of the owner and his management, as well as the player's own wishes, would likely cost dr. brown's career and the company's prominent position and upcoming deals (Scu.edu, 2011). The ethical dilemma revolves around what dr. brown should do. Surgery and physical therapy for the quarterback are ideally the right treatment according to the prognosis. On the other hand, it would be wrong for Dr. Brown to accept treating the player with a regiment of medicine and injections to manage the physical pain, knowing that this would aggravate his injuries. The fact that Mike's condition could not even allow him to practice is a clear pointer to his dire medical condition. It would be ethical to value the personal health and future of his patient, but Mike at the same time, regards the winning the championship highly at his own expense. Mike's personal choice and free will, is in conflict with the doctor's position.
The detailed situation requires a decision from Mr. Brown. Making the best decision in this dilemma would involve an ethical approach, taking into consideration, all involved issues, positions and the parties. Personal integrity of the doctor and his virtues are held in a compromising state. Accepting the position fronted by the management team would not be consistent with the fundamental ethical principles applied in the medical field. The doctor is supposed to treat the patient and ensure his positive progression rather than consciously providing or promoting a situation that compromises the patient's health, creating further harm. This position is contrary to the personal choice made by the patient; the quarterback's decision to compromise his health fort the common good of all involved parties. The patient has the free will to choose to accept the doctor's advice, the right choice regarding his own health and career, or take the choice proposed by the other group.
It would be the right thing to do in making the best decision as required by the medical state of the player. Ethical virtue of goodwill to the player's condition would dictate foregoing the highly sought after championship for the sake of the player, in spite of his sacrificial decision to play for the team in his condition. Moral implications of choosing the right ethical decision by Mr. Brown reflect concern for the patient' health and life, as it should be highly regarded by the management team as well, despite the negative possibility of losing the championship. The risks involved and the consequence these might have on Mike's life cannot be underestimated nor should his own life be put at stake under his circumstance. Dealing with the whole scenario, would be a tough call for the management team, although using an ethical approach based on moral values would entail resolving to another path in making a decision that would not cause him harm (Scu.edu, 2011).
Reflection on the risks in terms of possible harm and injury to the player should be a cause of alarm to management in the short term, with the understanding that the player would be available for future involvement in the team and its success, rather than cost him this privilege by "forcing" his participation at the current state of affairs. Huge economic gains to be gained from the team's success are countered by the adverse impacts that would result from the knowledge about the conscious involvement of the Doctor in this scheme. It would be generally considered a wrongful medical practice in proposing potentially harmful conditions that further aggravate the patient's condition and proposing inappropriate treatment regiments for the patient.
Ethical Theories Employed In Reaching a Solution to the Central Ethical Issue
In the 1980s, when questioned of his role in the affairs of Iran and why he had to lie, Oliver North said that lying to him was not an easy thing, but balancing the differences between lives and lies our lives was very essential. This should be used to explain the position that Doctor Brown finds himself regarding the case of Mike Apollo and the general decisions that have been arrived at by the general management team of the Athens Lumberjacks. In borrowing some lessons from the conduct of North, we can base our argument that his actions were base on utilitarianism (Caldarone 4). When the approach of utilitarianism is stripped down to its basics, utilitarianism is all about the moral principles of an individual, the moral guide lines that direct a persons decision making process in everyday life.
Doctor Brown tends to be a in a fix. He is worried whether he should follow and work in relation to his code of conduct or to join the rest. In taking the case of Mike Apollo into consideration, the whole management team has a single voice, they had waited for a very long time to win the championship, and this therefore meant that they were ready to compromise all ethical issues regardless of their effects as long as they win the championship. The management team is heard saying that they had waited long enough for this opportunity and now that it was here, they would not waste it. In relation to the utilitarian theory, it is clear that regardless of the action taken, as along as all the parties are satisfied with the action taken, then all is ok.
Ethics versus Virtue
To many of us, the common question that we ask ourselves is what we should do when we are faced with various situations? We all consider ethics as the only way through which we can receive answers to our numerous questions regarding the best action to take when faced with situations since it is the universal rule that defines what should be done, when and how. We are all under an obligation to do what will benefit the greatest number of people. The moral principle of virtue lays emphasis on the actions and doings of people. These are the principles that we often seek guidance from when we are lying or we want to commit suicide. They are the same principles that will guide the doctor in making and arriving at the best decision that will be of benefit to the majority.
McNamee (54) believes that virtue ethics refers to ideals such as our commitment to a common goal and dedication that we strive towards and which will enhance us to develop our sense of humanity fully. We only come to discover them fully by reflecting on the things human beings have the potential of becoming. Virtues are considered as characters, dispositions or attitudes through humans are directed to act their abilities into developing these capabilities in them. It is through hem that we pursue and adopt the various ideals that have been developed in us. Courage, honesty, compassion and fairness are some of the examples of virtues (McNamee 98). It requires courage and compassion for a doctor to arrive at any given decision, the decision to be arrived on by the question requires courage. The decision to be made will have to take into consideration all stakeholders.
Wisest and Most Ethical Option
The core point of the virtue approach stands the community idea, an individual's behavior and character can never be developed and realized in isolation, it can only be developed within a community to which one belongs to. Despite the fact that most people in the meeting including Mike himself were for the idea of giving him (Mike) injections that would subside the pain and allow him to play in the finals, the doctor had the final word in this. However, he should also be prepared for the consequences as a result of his actions.
After analyzing the health condition of Mike Apollo, the doctor new the effects that would be as a result of him not receiving the right treatment immediately, he knew the danger that the player would be facing if more insults were added on the injury. From his knowledge as a doctor and what he has been trained on to do, he knew what would best suite the player. It is believed that not all that the society considers morally upright is moral, similarly not all that is considered by the society as morally wrong is immoral, but the doctor is held morally responsible by his code of conduct. Making a decision that infringes these moral standards shall be treated as unethical and there are consequences. According to McNamee (167), the implication of this decision is that if an individual is able to reflect on a moral issue before taking action, the person is likely to portray behaviors that reflect on his conscience when he shall be faced with the same situation in future.
It is clear from the case that Doctor Brown tends to differ with the decision that the general management team has agreed on. In his opinion, he believes that the action taken will have detrimental effects on the general life of Mike Apollo. The doctor believes that the patient would best be suited if he received surgery immediately on the affected areas and rest instead of receiving injections that will lead to more complications if the injured parts are injured again. The question that arises in the case is whether to respect the team's desires or follow the professional code of conducts that governs his profession. In relation to this, the doctor is faced with a dilemma as to whether he should respect the patients decision or follow what he believes ill be best for the patient.
Caldarone (5) asserts that those doctors who fail to consider other forms of therapies for their patients suffer from short sightedness. However, in any form of decision arrived at, there are various forms of risks that tend to follow it. Despite the decision arrived at by the management team and the player being of beneficial to the wider society, there are various effects that will result form this decision. First of all, the health of Mike is in great danger, secondly, the code of conduct guiding the profession of the doctor is in question and lastly, virtues and ethics are at loggerhead. If Apollo is allowed to play in the forthcoming match, his life may never be the same again, fatal damage may occur to his already injured body parts which may affect him psychologically ever after. On the doctor's side, going against his professional code of conduct and guidelines may lead to him loosing his practice license and his abilities as a doctor may be questioned in future.
Through utilitarianism, we are provided with the right and straightforward technique that we can employ to decide what is right morally. Utilitarianism arms us with the best course of action to take in relation to all the situations that we may find ourselves in. in the discovering of what action to take, we must first of all understand and identify a number of course that a situation can be addressed with. Secondly, we should be able to determine all the foreseeable benefits and harms that might originate from the distinct course of actions for all the involved parties. Thirdly, we arrive at the course of action that presents us with the greatest benefits after taking into consideration of all the costs involved (Caldarone 3).
The moral principle of utilitarianism defines that a for course to be considered as morally right, any form of action in varying situations should result to the production of the greatest equilibrium of benefits in relation to its harms for all those who are affected. The theory of utilitarianism states that as along as those affected are satisfied by the action that has been taken and maximum satisfaction has been arrive d at by the action that has been taken, the theory of utilitarianism does not take into consideration as to whether the action arrived at and the benefits are derived from manipulations, lies or coercion.
Ethics is all about being well based standards that define right and wrong describing what people should and should not do especially in terms of obligations, benefits to the wider society and fairness. In addition to the ethical problems are experiencing within the sports fraternity as a result of glorifying the winners at the expense of the losers. The winners receive glory from all walks of life while the losers are ignored and they are never given any attention. This I believe is the reason as to why the management team and Apollo would go to any lengths in order to win the championship even if it means at the expense of the player's health condition.