John has a proximate end that he wanted to attain which if he did will bring happiness for him. That end was his desire to get his son on the waiting list for the heart transplant procedure in order the latter to live (intermediate end). I think every parent has the same end as John’s if they were in the same situation. If Michael will be given the chance live a normal life, they will become a happy family again (remote end). With this, they will be able to pursue God’s wonderful plans for them as a family and to fulfill those plans until their death would be pleasing in the eyes of God and to be with the Creator is the absolute ultimate end of mankind.
When John put th e matters in his own hands, he has the knowledge, freedom, and voluntariness to hold adoctor and innocent people at a hospital hostage. I surmise that John knew that the act is not morally permissible for the reason that all the while he kept his gun unloaded in order not to harm any of the hostages.
Conditional Voluntariness, Violence, Fear
John’s violent attempt may be a conditional voluntariness because there is no other means of having Michael on the waiting list due to insufficiency of money. If there was just other alternative means, then John will not go for violence. In addition, John’s voluntariness could have been influenced by fear. He did even the morally evil act because of his fear of losing his son.
John directly intended to save his son’s life whatever it takes, by hook or by crook.
The Morality of Human Acts
Act and Object
John’s act of attempted murder is evil however its object of saving his son from death is good in itself.
His motive is to have his son undergo heart transplantation through an evil act. Therefore, good motive with an evil act is EVIL.
The existing circumstance is the lack of financial capability to cover the costs that the transplantation would incur.
How: holding hostages
Certain and True Conscience
As a human person, John seem to have a certain and true conscience in the sense that he knew for a fact that attempted murder is practically judged as really evil and he has that subjective assurance and awareness that this human act is unlawful.
As a factory worker, John has the moral power to receive adequate benefits from insurance companies (acquired right). Also, Michael as a person has the alienable right to life since he needed an urgent transplant in order to survive, the hospital administration should have prioritized his critical condition over financial concerns. This is a human natural right which is derived from the natural moral law as well as the rational nature of man.
Right to Petition for the Redress of Grievances
Being a father who wanted to aid the agony of his dying son, John has the right to address or express his grievances against the inconsiderate hospital administration’s unjust rules and the undependable insurance companies that contributed to jeopardize Michael’s life. The decision of the hospital administration to discharge Michael due to financial incapacity implies injustice and to John and Denise, it simply means bringing home their son to watch his near death.
Man’s Rights and Duties Toward Himself
Michael has the right and duty to preserve his life through restoration of health. Ironically, how can Michael perform this right and duty well in fact the hospital did not permit him to undergo the procedure. Further, he is not liable for suicide because there are external hindrances for his right to be healed.
Morality of Risking One’s Life
- Intended good action should not be the killing of oneself.
- Death should not precede the good effect or be used as a means to attain the good effect.
- There must be a proportionate good reason for the action which may result in the death of a person.
- The intention of the agent must be honest.
- There came a point when John felt so hopeless to the extent of attempting to perpetrate suicide. He loaded his gun with a bullet and pulled the trigger for the first time only to find that the safety was on. However, for the second time that he was about to shoot himself, his wife suddenly came in with the good news that there was a heart donor compatible with their son. John’s suicidal attempt was morally not permissible because his intention was to kill himself which means that his death will precede Michael’s recovery though there is a proportionate good reason and honest intention of saving a family member’s life.
Graver Matter, Higher Law, Justice
These two principles apply to the hospital administration and the insurance companies. Graver matter and higher law tells that life must be prioritized over material property, and alienable over inalienable right, respectively. The hospital administration prioritized money over saving Michael from death. Also, the insurance companies capitalized on the financial capability over where the “to be acquired” benefits will be used, which is to save a person’s life. In this course, justice toward the welfare of other people was disregarded resulting to unacknowledged or undelivered needs and rights of the subjects involved. Thus, both the hospital administration and the insurance companies has the duty to participate in achieving the common good of the society and not merely considering profits and selfish materialistic desires. Hence, man’s duty toward the life of others comes in.