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Ethical Question Drinking

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sparklingwater, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. sparklingwater

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    I was searching several ethical questions on these boards, there are some on what would you do if you caught your friend cheating, abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, etc.

    Here is one I heard someone get- didn't see it in a past thread, and I wondered what you would answer vs. what you would do in reality.

    Your school has a zero tolerance policy on underage alcohol drinking and an university honor code that states that you are obligated report it. Your best friend, I think it was worded as "ever since middle school, you do everything together....", is with you at a party and he brought a six pack and is drinking it. What do you do? Also, if you report him, he gets kicked out of the university, hates you for life, and you crush his future job/graduate school prospects.

    Clearly, the right answer is to go with the established protocol, and in the long run, it will steer him on the right path, etc. Of course, a lot of care has to go in how you word this to make it believable. Every time you answer, the interviewer changes the scenario a bit, for example, if you say you'd confront him and plan to report him, your friend will say its a one time thing and promise never to do it again, etc.

    But honestly, out of everyone I've ever met in my entire life, no one would report a random person, let alone their best friend for drinking. Heck, 95% of the people I know would join him.

    So what would you say, and what would you do in real life? Do interviewers honestly believe people that would say they would report their best friend for this especially given the ridiculous consequences they laid out in the question?
     
    #1 sparklingwater, Aug 13, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
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  3. dbeast

    dbeast That's cool I guess
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    If anything, it's unethical to report your friend.
     
  4. Bacchus

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    You don't report him. You don't feel bad about not reporting him. You relish in the fact no one will report him, or you (so drink up), because they're all at said party. Its a 6-pack of beer. He's not running a still in his dormroom armoire. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that.

    The amount of reported conduct infractions is far, far less than those that happen. This is one you can let slide.

    If you do want to report him, or someone wants to report a best friend, not only should the friendship be severed but the drinker should kick the **** out of the reporter.
     
  5. AestheticMed

    AestheticMed Doctorate in Broscience

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    Dude, you gotta loosen up. IF you ratted out your friend for that people are going to hate you.
     
  6. sparklingwater

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    Would you answer that you wouldn't rat him out in an interview given that the interviewer spent 2 minutes laying out the zero tolerance alcohol policy and how you are obligated by the honor code?

    If you wouldn't, how would you respond?
     
  7. nysw

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    Honestly, I'd probably say that I wouldn't report him, but I wouldn't drink with him/her. They're normal people. They'd smell BS coming from a mile away.

    Personal anecdote: I've gone to a college that is absolutely ridiculous about their no alcohol rule, and no one reported anyone, ever. The only time people were caught&kicked out was if they failed to hide their liquor during dorm room checks, which were announced a week in advance.
     
  8. Propylene

    Propylene Class of 2017
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    Gonna have to agree on this one... A 6 pack of beer is not a reportable offense. There's no damage being done, and colleges know that people are going to drink. Something like that isn't worth their time.
     
  9. Noam Chomsky

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    ARE YOU GUYS ON DRUGS? YOU HAVE TO REPORT HIM! If not you fail the ethical part of the interview.
     
  10. drizzt3117

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    Ethical questions are meant to examine how you think. There's not only the ethical question, but a broader question being asked, namely, is your thought process rigorous? I had an interview question about whether as the chief medical officer of Guantanamo Bay, whether I would obey orders to tube-feed detainees. In the end the doctor told me the correct answer was to refuse to do so but accepted my answer and said I used good reasoning, he said he didn't care what my answer was, more how it was defended.
     
  11. Bacchus

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    ^ This sentiment has been supported again and again on SDN. Reasoning is king.
     
  12. ElCapone

    ElCapone Don't Lawyer Me
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    [​IMG]


    Seriously. Don't be THAT guy. Keep what you saw on the DL and pretend you don't know anything.
     
  13. SBR249

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    The correct answer is to say that you had to leave the party early to study for an orgo exam the next day and did not see anything to report.
     
  14. tn4596

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    nobody like a snitch lol
    if you dont like drinking, why go to the party in the first place, might as well stay at home and review ur school honor code...
     
  15. CityLights

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    That's good to hear. Even if I was asked this question in an interview, I would be honest and say I would not report my friend and defend my reasoning appropriately. Probably not the "right" answer, but at least it's sincere.
     
  16. Bacchus

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    Let's be honest, you'll never get this question. Despite the OP saying he heard of it being asked.
     
  17. gettheleadout

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    How about this instead: You go to a school like Washington & Lee where the honor code is taken so seriously, students take virtually all exams out of the classroom. On the students' word of honor they supposedly do not cheat on the exams, and the only penalty for cheating is expulsion. You catch a close friend of yours cheating on an exam. Do you report them?
     
  18. drizzt3117

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    The questions that you might get require some sort of knowledge of the law and ethics. I got a number of variants on the Jehovah Witness q, a (child, adult, etc) is injured in a car accident and needs a blood transfusion to survive, what do you do? Just remember that you are obligated to save a child but an adult makes their own medical decisions. There's more to it than that, but I'll let you all read up on it.
     
  19. SBR249

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    I would because at W&L, all those accuse of honor code violation receives an impartial investigation and hearing with the verdict rendered by a jury of their peers (students) and are represented and counseled by an honor advocate. This is ethical and fair.

    In the drinking example above, I would refuse to enforce the honor code on the principle that I believe the penalty is too harsh and unethical (I'm not a fan of the zero-tolerance movement). Just as many countries will refuse to extradite fugitives to the US if they face possible death penalty, I would find it morally unconscionable to turn my friend in for drinking knowing that the punishment is automatic and that he would be denied due process and justice.
     
  20. Tourmaline

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    I'm pretty sure he/she's just proposing a possible ethics question during an interview, not actually reporting people...
     
  21. milski

    milski 1K member
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    Yes. There is nothing socially acceptable about cheating nor there is any good reason for it. Drinking is nowhere near the same. Most laws/policies about drinking prohibit it only until certain age, which is fairly arbitrary. Same cannot be said for cheating.

    Edit: SBR 249 phrased it much better than me.
     
  22. Bacchus

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    I'm talking about the specific question. I know they ask reasoning questions.
     
  23. 235788

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    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

    Do as a doctor would and just "counsel" him and tell of the dangers of drinking. boom. done.
     
  24. SBR249

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    I can also see how, as a doctor, you'd have to respect the doctor/patient confidentiality...:laugh:
     
  25. CityLights

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    That's definitely a tougher one. I would probably recognize that this isn't someone I really want to be friends with anymore, but I'm not sure if I would feel it's worth it to report them. I mean, how do you prove they were cheating? If expulsion is the punishment, and the already have the moral integrity to cheat, couldn't they just deny it and be let off on presumption of innocence?
     
  26. SBR249

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    That's for the student jury to decide at W&L. An analogy in that case would be, that police officers would arrest you if they suspect that you had committed a detainable crime. Whether or not you are guilty is up to a court of law and a jury. It's not their duty to decide if they should arrest based on probability of conviction.
     
  27. CityLights

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    That's a good analogy.

    Anyone go to a school like W&L? Do you think the policy works well?
     
  28. YouNeverKnow22

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    I don't think there is any danger in drinking after a 6-pack
     
  29. TriagePreMed

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    **** it, brah, Drinks tha 6 pax wid dem homiez.

    These questions are too troll to take seriously.
     
  30. pkwraith

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    Your friend is driving 38 MPH in a 35 MPH zone with you as a passenger. There are clearly marked 35 MPH signs, so it's obvious that your friend is blatantly flaunting the law by driving 3 miles over the speed limit. Should you call the local police and sheriff department and report a moving violation? Or should you wrest control of the vehicle away from your friend and enforce a citizen's arrest.

    Either choice would of course steer your friend onto the right path (never associating with you again).
     
  31. StrongWork

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    how is this even a dilemma? Good God, now I know why some medical students are the way they are...

    This is why I never hung out with the other premeds at my college.
     
  32. My friend is an adult, he can make his own decisions. If he makes a mistake and needs me, then I help him. "obligated to report it" yeah, no. If he's a danger to other people then I would consider it but to report for drinking, that's pretty much just being a bad friend.
     
  33. aviendhae

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    :thumbup::thumbup:

    Friends support each other, end of story. It is their life and unless they are 'forcing' you to do something illegal or against the honor code, then let it be. If they need help overcoming it, then get them some help.

    I had a friend cheat off me in a quiz. I wasn't aware of it during the quiz, but she did tell me afterwards. I told her if she ever cheated off me again I would report it. I also told her that if she needed help with her studies, that I was there for her. By cheating off me, she put me at risk, which is why I was threatened to report if she repeated her actions.
     
  34. V5RED

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    My friends would not put me in that situation, and I would not go to such a school.

    In that situation, my moral code would say to report it. I had already said I would when I signed up, and so did he. Not only that, but everyone I know knows that I have an extremely strict honesty code. They know I won't break my word, so they won't put me in the position of breaking it.
     
  35. V5RED

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    I don't understand what the bolded part means. As I read it, I interpret it as they keep the exam itself or they take the test in the hallway, but neither of those make sense.

    I also don't know how I would catch him cheating. Does he come up to me after the test and wave crib notes at me? Do I see him possibly looking at another person's test? In the second one, it seems odd that I am watching another student during an exam since someone else might think I am cheating.
     
  36. medicalmuscle

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  37. milski

    milski 1K member
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    Let's take it one step further then. If the original friend did not report her friend and you know about that, would you report her for not reporting?
     
  38. circulus vitios

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    I would report him without hesitation.



    [​IMG]
     
  39. dbeast

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  40. rofl :thumbup:
     
  41. fizzgig

    fizzgig LudicrousSpeed!
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    it just means there a lot of take home tests that are still closed note/closed book/whatever time limit the prof sets etc. you're on your honor to take the test home and still follow the rules.
     
  42. isoquin

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    The easiest way to flunk this question is to offer a "yes/no" type answer. If you want to kill an ethics question, you need to tackle ethics directly. Simple as it sounds, you should go in understanding what ethics *is*. Here's a good start: ethics is the study of right and wrong.

    With that in mind, throw out any rules, assumptions, or insinuating norms you get regarding your question. Rules should follow ethics, not the other way around. The biggest conflict that comes up is when they are in direct opposition to one another, in which case the ethical thing to do is to address the rules and attempt to change them in a productive manner, while balancing both in the meantime.

    So hit up your question regarding a friend drinking. How do we balance both? That's really going to be different for each person. A good start however is confronting the friend in a non-criticizing way, with the goal of producing a happy medium resolution. The "right thing" I think you would want to strive for is not getting anyone in trouble, meaning intoxication trouble, school-related trouble, security-related trouble, government trouble for the school, etc. Talk through the different angles, including why the rules are there in the first place, whether you agree with them, and how you think they ought to be changed.

    You should notice by now this is a lot of thinking/work. That's the right answer.
     
  43. 235788

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    lol.

    People who say they would report him have got to be kidding me? Its just soulless to report when other actions can be taken (counseling, talking it over, etc).
     
  44. 235788

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    holy crap. :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
     
  45. Morsetlis

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    I would always qualify and explain possible outcomes/consequences of my possible actions. Questions like these require a nuanced, but firm approach. You'd have to pick your gun and stick to it (but also demonstrate understanding of different viewpoints.)

    The good interviewers watch your reaction and assess your overall understanding of different points of views and your inner strength, conviction, and soundness/clarify of reasoning.

    The bad interviewers just say these things to make you feel bad, and honestly you can't predict what people are like, so unless you'd like to gather statistical data on what balding 60-year-old physician interviewers, with one divorce and three kids, and who wear green suits to the lab on Fridays would prefer your answer to be, the best method is to pick your side, reason it out, acknowledge different viewpoints/outcomes, and stick to it.
     
  46. isoquin

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    I would actually disagree with that viewpoint. Interviewers usually change the details of the scenarios to challenge the reasoning of the applicant. Sticking to one side regardless of how things change shows a lack of dynamic reasoning. If the scenario changes, a good answer will move with it. The best result will be an expressed set of static ethical perspectives that provide differing outcomes based on the specifics of the scenario.

    Think of it like a math equation. For example: y = 3x + 2. The interviewer is going to give you a different X each time. If you keep giving the same Y regardless of X, you don't understand math (or in this case, ethics). If you can define your ethical "equation" to the interviewer, and then walk them through how the output is derived from the scenario, you will ace your ethical question.
     
  47. gettheleadout

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    fizzgig is correct.
    The idea here is that you walk into his room and catch him taking the test with his notes/book/whatever.
     
  48. Bellette

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    I don't understand how it would be ethical at all, to turn in your friend for a six pack. Your friend has demonstrated an interest in alcohol and an ability to acquire a six pack: and ta'da, he has a six pack. At the very most he'll get drunk and experience a temporary lapse in his ability to considerately modulate his volume of speaking and he may not adhere to his more specific minimum standards of beauty. No one said he's driving back to his dorm; he's probably not going to start a knife fight or throw up on anyone's shoes. He's probably not going to throw up at all. No big deal. At most, you have grounds to converse with your friend upon the subject; if you're really concerned, you could be the DD.

    In what world is it preferable to rat your friend out, putting a black eye on his academic record (I don't believe, either, that the school would handle the situation in a "zero tolerance" manner, but say a written warning or a meeting with the Judiciary Committee, if your snitching amounts to anything), which he'll have to attempt to explain as often as he's interviewed when he applies to medical school? I mean, are you going to argue that your friend needed the intervention to keep his life on track?
     
  49. Bellette

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    My friend smoked what he thought would be crack, and he was mad that it turned out to be meth. True story. He doesn't smoke crack on the reg, which is presumably why this switcheroo was able to take place. Still, I felt like it was a bad sign, that he decided to smoke crack. That's a legitimate (at least to me) line to draw, between drinking and smoking crack, or between drinking and accidentally smoking meth. . . even though it was him doing it, not him "forcing" me to do it, and he didn't technically qualify for rehab yet.
     
  50. Kevin Baker

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    If Professor Hitler assigned you to kill six million jews and you signed an honor code saying you'd complete all your homework assignments, what would you do?

    These questions are about how you think, not what you answer. But they're also a game to a degree. My personal take is there is a certain sphere of influence any organization can legitimately exert over an individual. Yet blindly following all rules, regardless of scope, would take the humanism out of medicine. There are certain schools I would never apply to due to nutty policies (Loma Linda), but even if you do sign an honor code, some behaviors are not ethical to regulate.

    Whether your example crosses that line is debatable but I'd argue the school has no right to regulate that behavior. Your friend is ingesting a substance and is only causing potential harm to himself. When institutions have the ability to regulate what we are allowed to do to our bodies is when all personal liberty ceases to exist.

    I'd also argue anyone should be able to walk into a pharmacy without a prescription and buy whatever drugs they want, but that is a separate argument for a different thread, and I wouldn't bring that up in an interview regardless. Play the game and come up with a cogent answer you can defend.
     
  51. StrongWork

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    Win. End of thread.

    Don't be a sheep. Think for yourself. If you would STILL turn him in, then you don't deserve friends.
     

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