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In the movie John Q, John Q Archibald is put into a difficult situation when his son is in
need of a heart transplant and John is unable to secure the required down payment for his
transplant. As a result, John and the other main characters in the film are put into various
challenging moral dilemmas when John decides to break the law to ensure his son survives.
One of the first moral dilemmas John faces is that after the hospital refuses to put Johns
son’s name in the donor list and has decided to discharge him, John has to decide whether he is
going to abide by the laws and rules, and let his son die, or take forceful action, by taking the
hospital hostage to get his son’s heart transplant. In the Kohlberg Moral Development theory,
John Q is in Stage 6: Principled Conscience, under Level 3: Postconventional because he bases
his decisions on his personal ethics of what is right and that is ensuring his son gets a heart
transplant. He acts based on his personal conscience, and despite being fully aware of the
punishments, he goes through with his task for the sake of saving his son. He values his decision
of saving his son as more important than the law. He also wants to ensure that his son survives
for the sake of his wife and is willing to do anything to make it happen, which places his wife in
Stage 3: Approval. He wants to please her by ensuring their son survives. The hospital team falls
under Stage 4: Law and order because they would much rather follow the law and procedures of
a heart transplant surgery then save John’s son.
Another moral dilemma John faces is when one of the people in hostage attacks him with
a scalpel and a spray, so John is faced with the dilemma of having to kill him as he is an
opponent against John achieving his goal or to abide by the law and his will to keep the hostages
alive. This represents stage 4: Law and order as he does not want to break laws by killing anyone
but just wants his son to get a heart transplant. As a result, he does not kill that person or anyone
that is kept in hostage. His wife and son represent Stage 3: Approval because John wants to
ensure that he does not let his wife and kid down by killing someone. John Q also falls under
Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment because he is inflicting punishment on the hostage member
that attacks him to prevent him from repeating that mistake. The members of the hostage also
follow Stage 1- Obedience and punishment because they do not want to die or endure
punishment, so they follow whatever John Q instructs them too to avoid punishment.
Lt Grimes is also put into a moral dilemma because he does realize and understand John
Q is a criminal for taking the hospital hostage, but he feels sympathy for him and the situation he
is in, and occasionally helps him. His sympathy for him is also further emphasized when crowds
of people begin to support John Q. He represents stage 5: social contract because he considers
different values, opinions, and rules of society rather than the law itself. He realizes that although
John Q is breaking the law, he also is doing it for a reason, good cause which is that his son
is in need of a heart transplant. Along with Lt Grimes, the crowds of people supporting John Q
fall under Stage 5: Social contract because they believe that the health care system is flawed. The
hospital members such as the doctor and Rebecca who once refused the heart transplant, change
and fall under stage 5: Social contract because they realize that it’s important to save the life of
an innocent child as shown through John Q’s sacrifices. furthermore,
In the story, Heinz dilemma, Heinz’s wife was dying from a particular type of cancer. Doctors said a new drug might save her. The drug had been discovered by a local chemist, and the Heinz tried desperately to buy some, but the chemist was charging ten times the money it cost to make the drug, and this is similar to the same situation that John Q is facing where he collects some money to afford the heart plant for his son because his son was also in need of the surgery and Heinz wanted that only drug to cure his wife, the drug costed much more than the Heinz could afford. Heinz could only raise half the money, even after help from family and friends. He explained to the chemist that his wife was dying and asked if he can kindly have the drug cheaper or pay the rest of the money later. John Q did the same thing he only gathered twenty thousand dollars, while the surgery was costing him approximately about thirty thousand dollars. He went to many people that can help him out. but no one has responded to his situations so he decided to do the following situations where John decides to break the law to ensure his son survives. One of the first moral dilemmas John faces is that after the hospital refuses to put John’s son’s name in the donor list and has decided to discharge him, John has to decide whether he is going to abide by the laws and rules, and let his son die, or take forceful action, by taking the hospital hostage to get his son’s heart transplant. even if he knew it would not end up bad. but regardless, he took the chance and at the end, it went great for him, therefore, they both took in the action of breaking the law in order to protect their families where John Q has to protect his son, and Heinz has to protect his wife. Therefore, the movie John Q and the story Heinz Dilemma relate to each other because of the consequences that both of these characters went through where each one had to face a situation where he can get through it. They had to decide which road they should take in order to succeed.

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