The situation: Imagine that you are in a small hospital in a poor part of the world which has only a limited number of beds. There are three patients who require urgent medical treatment, however, there is only one place available.
You are the head of paediatrics. You have in your care a seriously ill young girl who needs an operation on her spine. If she does not have an operation within the next 48 hours it is almost certain she will be paralysed from the waist down.
You are a neurologist. You have in your care a sick pregnant woman who must undergo brain surgery to remove a tumour. Without the operation her chances of survival are 50/50.
You are the local GP. You have in yout care a father of three.The man has a heart condition caused by heavy smoking. If he doesn't have open-heart surgery immediately he is likely to
suffer a heart attack and possibly die.
1 Explain the situation to the students, deal with any problems with grammer or vocabulary. It is very important to make it clear that only one person can be operated on.
2 Divide the class into three groups and assign each group a role.
3 Students think of as many reasons why their patient should be treated and the others should be refused.
4 Put the students into groups of three, with one person from each role. They should then argue their point of views and within ten minutes come to a conclusion.
5 Ask each group what their decision was and why they made it.
This exercise always makes for heated argument, so be on hand to dampen down any debate that threatens to get out of hand.