The purpose of these stories and questions is to get at your opinions and ideas. Please write down all the ideas or feelings they bring to mind rather than giving "yes" or "no" answers. Please use as much space as you need. The answers can be written or typed.
In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying, and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said, "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife.
Should Heinz have done that? Was it actually wrong or right? Why?
Is it a husband's duty to steal the drug for his wife if he can get it no other way? Would a good husband do it?
Did the druggist have the right to charge that much when there was no law actually setting a limit to the price? Why?
Answer the next two questions only if you think he SHOULD steal the drug.
If the husband does not feel very close or affectionate to his wife, should he still steal the drug? Why?
Suppose it wasn't Heinz's wife who was dying of cancer but it was Heinz's best friend. His friend didn't have any money and there was no one in his family willing to steal the drug. Should Heinz steal the drug for his friend in that case? Why?
Answer the next two questions only if you think Heinz should NOT steal the drug.
Would you steal the drug to save your wife's life?
If you were dying of cancer but were strong enough, would you steal the drug to save your own life?
Everyone answer the following.
Heinz broke in the store and stole the drug and gave it to his wife. He was caught and brought before the judge. Should the judge send Heinz to jail for stealing, or should he let him go free? Why?
The drug didn't work, and there was no other treatment known to medicine which could save Heinz's wife, so the doctor knew that she had only about 6 months to live. She was in terrible pain, but she was so weak that a good dose of a pain-killer like ether or morphine would make her die sooner. She was delirious and almost crazy with pain, and in her calm periods, she would ask the doctor to give her enough ether to kill her. She said she couldn't stand the pain and she was going to die in a few months anyway.
Should the doctor do what she asks and give her the drug that will make her die? Why?
When a pet animal is badly wounded and will die, it is killed to put it out of its pain. Does the same thing apply here? Why or why not?
Answer the following three questions only if you think the doctor should NOT give her the drug.
Would you blame the doctor for giving her the drug? Why?
What would have been best for the woman herself, to have her live for six months more in great pain or have died sooner? Why?
Some countries have a law that doctors could put away a suffering person who will die anyway. Should the doctor do it in that case?
Everyone should answer the remaining questions.
The doctor finally decided to kill the woman to put her out of her pain, so he did it without consulting the law. The police found out and the doctor was brought up on a charge of murder. The jury decided he had done it, so they found him guilty of murder even though they knew the woman had asked him. What punishment should the judge give the doctor? Why?
Would it be right or wrong to give the doctor the death sentence?
Do you believe the death sentence should be given in some cases? Why?
The law prescribes the death penalty for treason against the country. Do you think the death sentence should be given for treason? Why?
While all this was happening, Heinz was in jail for breaking in and trying to steal the medicine. He had been sentenced for 10 years. But after a couple of years, he escaped from the prison and went to live in another part of the country under a new name. He saved money and slowly built up a big factory. He gave his workers the highest wages and used most of his profit to build a hospital for work in curing cancer. Twenty years had passed when a tailor recognized the factory owner as being Heinz, the escaped convict whom the police had been looking for back in his home town.
Should the tailor report Heinz to the police? Would it be right or wrong to keep it quiet? Why?
Is it a citizen's duty to report Heinz? Would a good citizen?
If Heinz was a good friend of the tailor, would that make a difference? Why?
Should Heinz be sent back to jail by the judge? Why?