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Thread: Extreme Measures: Gene Hackman & Hugh Grant

  1. #1
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Extreme Measures: Gene Hackman & Hugh Grant

    Watched Extreme Measures last night. This was my second time seeing this movie. First time I viewed it, I didn't take much time to reflect on the points raised about medical ethics. I just saw it as another action thriller with car chases and stereotypical villains and heroes.

    Perhaps repeated exposure to the understandable impatience regarding the progress of "Cure" expressed by some members of this community guided my focus.

    If you have seen this movie, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    Foolish

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  2. #2
    I've seen it a couple times, but not very recently. I remember Hackman and his cohorts performing surgery on homeless people to try and cure SCI and Grant investigating their misdoings. They "paralyze" Grant in order to convince him of their reasoning.

    As for the ethics of experimental surgery on unwilling or indigent persons that wouldn't be missed, that's some Nazi-like practices there. The thought that I could be cured or partially healed in some way by this would be unacceptable to me.

    However, if I had a child who was paralyzed and this type of thing had already been performed and been found efficacious I doubt that I feel the same. Or at least prevent the procedure from being used.
    Last edited by Scott C4/5; 06-14-2013 at 02:17 PM. Reason: meant to say "not very recently".

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    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott C4/5 View Post
    I've seen it a couple times, but very recently. I remember Hackman and his cohorts performing surgery on homeless people to try and cure SCI and Grant investigating their misdoings. They "paralyze" Grant in order to convince him of their reasoning.

    As for the ethics of experimental surgery on unwilling or indigent persons that wouldn't be missed, that's some Nazi-like practices there. The thought that I could be cured or partially healed in some way by this would be unacceptable to me.

    However, if I had a child who was paralyzed and this type of thing had already been performed and been found efficacious I doubt that I feel the same. Or at least prevent the procedure from being used.
    Very good recall and an excellent synopsis!

    The movie's big question was "What would you do to be cured"? As you say, forced participation in medical experiments was the ethical hurdle that supporters had to jump. Does this apply to monkeys? Pigs? Rats? How about those human participants whom researchers know are motivated by false hope? Should they be disqualified because the desperation that drives them is coercive?

    Or is the sacrifice of a relative few lives, arguably maybe lesser lives, justified by the large numbers of people who will benefit?
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  4. #4
    It is a fascinating look at morality. Consider these circumstances.

    1. You wake up and there is a syringe and and a note. The note says, inject this and it will cure your SCI, it was made by killing a homeless person.

    2. Someone approaches you and says, give me X dollars (substantial to your income level but not something that would bankrupt you) and I will go kill a homeless person and give you a syringe that will cure your SCI

    3. Same person approaches you with a gun and a homeless person and says "Kill him and I will make a cure for your SCI"

    All three are equivalent if you are the homeless person. To you #1 might be justified that "well the dude is already dead, I feel bad but at least I get cured. By far the easiest choice. #2 is a harder, and possibly you say no but then what if every day they came back and kept dropping the price, or work you on how the homeless person has no "value" to society. I can't honestly say I wouldn't do it. I doubt many people would have the coldness to do the third option. But again to be brutally honest I am not sure what I would do in that situation.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t8burst View Post
    It is a fascinating look at morality. Consider these circumstances.

    1. You wake up and there is a syringe and and a note. The note says, inject this and it will cure your SCI, it was made by killing a homeless person.

    2. Someone approaches you and says, give me X dollars (substantial to your income level but not something that would bankrupt you) and I will go kill a homeless person and give you a syringe that will cure your SCI

    3. Same person approaches you with a gun and a homeless person and says "Kill him and I will make a cure for your SCI"

    All three are equivalent if you are the homeless person. To you #1 might be justified that "well the dude is already dead, I feel bad but at least I get cured. By far the easiest choice. #2 is a harder, and possibly you say no but then what if every day they came back and kept dropping the price, or work you on how the homeless person has no "value" to society. I can't honestly say I wouldn't do it. I doubt many people would have the coldness to do the third option. But again to be brutally honest I am not sure what I would do in that situation.
    In truth, no one truly knows what choice they would make until they have the opportunity and the history of their decision.

    What I'm suggesting is more like your proposition #2, where the trade-offs become increasingly blurred. What if the price drops, and the homeless person has a terminal disease? What if the homeless person only loses a body part? What if they are paid and sign a waiver to be sacrificed?

    The take-away for me is that medical ethics are increasingly needed to balance pure science. Researchers should and will, in a vacuum, consider every possibility. It's up to morality to consider the net benefit to humanity.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

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    Senior Member flying's Avatar
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    Don't people in some third world country's sell a kidney for money. Would you buy one if you needed one? My friend has a kidney disease and is on the donor list, I asked her if she would go and get a kidney from some third world person, and of course she said no way, but as her kidney disease progresses and see starts dialysis's, I'm sure there would be a lot more motivation to say way not, after all they have two kidneys, surely they can spare one.
    T12L1 Incomplete Still here This is the place to be 58 years old

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Foolish Old View Post
    The take-away for me is that medical ethics are increasingly needed to balance pure science. Researchers should and will, in a vacuum, consider every possibility. It's up to morality to consider the net benefit to humanity.
    The "net benefit to humanity" is such a dangerous path though isn't it? If you could sacrifice a person with 1 year to live to save the life of someone who would cure cancer, seems like a no-brainer to probably everyone except the guy who has one year to live.

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    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t8burst View Post
    The "net benefit to humanity" is such a dangerous path though isn't it? If you could sacrifice a person with 1 year to live to save the life of someone who would cure cancer, seems like a no-brainer to probably everyone except the guy who has one year to live.
    The net benefit to humanity must consider the cost of becoming coldly clinical and mathematical in our decisions. You wipe out a disease that affects some by a treatment with seriously dangerous side effects that infect all, that's maybe not a net gain.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

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