Monday, July 18, 2011

Euthanizing Medic Wade: From Saving Private Ryan

One of the more touching moments in the movie Saving Private Ryan is when Wade is wounded during the assault on the machine gun site guarding a destroyed radar site.  This was pivotal in the movie because Captain Miller had to force the order on his mostly unwilling troops.  The one who ends up wounded is the person least deserving you might think, an unarmed medic.  After the assault, the men all try to frantically "fix" wade.  "Tell us how to fix you", says corporal Upham.   As Wade realizes the severity of his wounds, he says, "I could use some more morphine."  Now, they all know that having already given Wade one dose of morphine, to give him more will cause his heart rate to lower causing him to die.  The men of the squad look at one another and Captain Miller gives the wish his blessing by saying twice, "give it to him."  A distraught Sgt. Horvath sticks Wade in the leg with not one but two more doses of morphine.  Wade, shivering and calling for his mother, slips from panic to calm and then to death.
Would Wade have died on his own, it is likely, but after how much time and after how much pain.  The squad effectively euthanized their comrade.  Now, I'm against euthanization, but how would I have reacted if I were Captain Miller in the field of war.  Is war like a black hole, only instead of the laws of physics disappearing, the societal norms and morals disappear.  I don't know how God would judge me in such a circumstance, but I think I would give him the morphine.


Kansas Bob said...

So are you saying that the morality in these matters is based on the situation?

jrchaard said...

I think that in such a moment, I would not be so black and white.

Kansas Bob said...

Such is the dilemma of many as they watch their elderly loved ones suffer.