Hugh Grant on Ends and Means in Medical Care
Warning: Spoilers for the movie, Extreme Measures.
In the 1996 movie, Extreme Measures, Hugh Grant discovers a plot to purposely destroy the health of healthy homeless men in order to use them for medical experiments. He confronts the doctor who is leading the experiments, who has just tried to persuade him that the experiment is worthwhile.
Maybe you’re right. Those men upstairs, maybe there isn’t much point to their lives. Maybe they are doing a great thing for the world. Maybe they are heroes. (Pause.) But they didn’t choose to be. You chose for them. You didn’t choose your wife or your granddaughter, you didn’t ask for volunteers. You chose for them. And you can’t do that, because you’re a doctor and you took an oath and you’re not God. So I don’t care, I don’t care if you can do what you say you can. I don’t care if you can find a cure for every disease on this planet. You tortured and murdered those men upstairs. And that makes you a disgrace to your profession. And I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life.
Later, the widow of the man Grant’s character was talking to says:
I believe my husband was trying to do a good thing–but in the wrong way. Perhaps you could do it–in the right way.
I think we can agree with Hugh Grant about this extreme measure. What about the next step? If it’s wrong to make people sick on purpose, is it also wrong to forcibly withhold medical care from them that they’re willing to pay for? If so, then much about Canadian health care is wrong; ditto for the Food and Drug Administration, which forcibly withholds drugs from residents of the United States.