He is referred to a hospital that has a brilliant transplant surgeon. On this particular day, the surgeon has five transplant patients. As well as the mad philospopher, there’s a man who needs a liver transplant, another man who needs a new kidney, a young girl desperate for a double lung transplant and a diabetic woman requiring a pancreatic replacement. All five will die without the organ transplant. Unfortunately, there are no organs available to perform any of the operations.
During the afternoon, a healthy young traveller comes in for a routine checkup during which it emerges that his organs are compatible with all five of the surgeon’s dying patients. There are no records on the traveller and no one would suspect the surgeon if he were to terminate the young man’s life to save the lives of the other five. What should he do?
[Judith Jarvis Thomson]