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Ethics and Public Policy
May 16, 2011

Are You Ethical?That May Depend on Who You Are Asking

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2011;13(3):211-213. doi:10.1001/archfacial.2011.19

Last week, I was stopped at a red light on a 2-lane street with construction barriers on both sides of my lane. Behind me, approaching fast, was an ambulance with its siren wailing. In the oncoming lane, also stopped at the red light, was a police car. Since I could not pull off to the right because of the barrier, my only choice to get out of the path of the ambulance was to drive into the intersection despite the red light. However, if I did, I would be breaking the law in clear view of a police officer. But if I did not let the ambulance through, I would be violating an ethical norm. After quickly thinking through my options, I made a judgment call and did what I thought best. What would you do?