A Very Real Story
A husband of more than 50 years said he had run out of options.
His wife, 78, had been seriously ill for the last 15 years. The cost of her medications had become so expensive that they could no longer afford it. He decided that on Monday morning while she was sleeping, he would shoot her in the head to relieve her pain and suffering.
The man killed his wife at 7:30 a.m. while she was asleep. He then put the gun on a dresser, went into the kitchen had some coffee. He then called his daughters to tell them what he had done before calling 911 later that afternoon. He told police that his children knew that his wife wanted to die because she was in so much pain, and that he had been thinking of killing her for several days. The man apologized to police for not calling them earlier in the day but said he had wanted to let his children know what had happened first.
At the police station, the man told police that his wife had been sick for a very long time and had multiple ailments that required numerous medications. The man said that he could not afford to buy all the medications and still keep a roof over their heads
According to AARP, an advocacy group for people over 50, specialty drugs that treat chronic conditions such as the rheumatoid arthritis that his wife had, are extremely expensive, sometimes costing thousands of dollars per dose.
Records show that the man and his wife had filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and the man worked in retail for a short time to try to pay for the medications. The man was arrested and charged with first-degree premeditated murder. But the case appeared to also highlight the difficulties faced by older people who are retired or on fixed incomes and struggle to pay for their medicine when they are ill or in pain. The man was very emotional about the situation and knew that he was going to jail, but said that he was out of options to help his wife.
After reading the story below, answer the following questions.
Was the man’s action of killing his wife ethical?
How does the ethical framework you consider (absolute ethics, relative ethics, behavioral ethics, applied ethics) impact your ability to analyze the situation?
What does society think about the man’s action?
What would you do if you were in the same situation of watching a loved one suffer excruciating pain and you felt unable to help their suffering?
When is pre-meditated murder socially, morally, and legally acceptable?