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Ethical Dilemma: Who Would You Save?

I encountered an ethical dilemma this week that forced me to rethink a great deal of what I had come to believe over my lifetime, it truly is a question that I hope will make you, the reader, think about how first responders must block out emotions and follow protocol even when it means saving a criminal that has killed many.

For the past few weeks, I have been hard at work going through an EMT education class and this week we were asked a question that really forced me to rethink everything I had thought I would do before. The question was as follows: "you are an EMT and you approach an active shooter situation that has just been cleared by police. There are two people that have been shot multiple times. The first is a police officer who has been shot in the body 13 times and has a low chance of survival, the other is the shooter who has been shot 3 times but has a higher chance of survival. Who do you save? Now as many of you might lack the medical understanding to look at this question for an emergency medical response, I ask that you look at the question more on the frame of who would you save if you had to choose.

For many of my fellow students, the answer was simple, they wanted to save the cop. However, as the class discusses the topic it was clear that by trying to save the cop there was a risk that both the cop and the shooter would die, due to the fact that the cop had a low chance of survival already and that it would have been better to just try to save the life of the shooter. Several students believed that it would just be easier to let the shooter die as it would make it easier for the grieving party. Other students believed that saving the cop was the only option because the officer was a hero and was the one that deserved the aid and not the shooter. A few students also said that they could not choose because there were too many unanswered questions. Many of the students chose to save the cop based on emotions and their need to save the hero.

There was also a good number of students who looked at the situation from the other side. A student who sided with saving the shooter said that emotions should not be the basis of the decision and that as first responders it is our duty to keep our emotions out of the call and focus on preserving life no matter what. Students said one reason why they would also choose to save the shooter is that they felt that he had the best chance at life with only 3 gunshot wounds. This student would look at the choices from the perspective of preserving life.

Now I ask you the reader to decide. Do you save the shooter or the cop; do you choose to let your emotions make your decisions, or do you follow your morals and choose to preserve life even if that life is one of a criminal?

Email us with your answer, we want to hear what you think.

Jarin Clapp

senior editor with Poudre Press, head writer at Operation Copper Rain

Operation Copper Rain started with a dream of making news that was real-time, unbiased news, that could be easily accessed by readers all over the world. With an ongoing mission to uncover facts and find trusted resources, Operation Copper Rain is committed to providing the global population with the latest updates and thought-provoking news.

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