Heinz Dilema Revisited

John’s 5th class discussed the following story this week during a session of ‘Thinking Time’.

A woman was near death from a terrible kind of illness. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to produce. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.” So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife.

There are many different issues contained in this short story but we decided to start the conversation with one simple question…..

Was Heinz right or wrong to steal?

There were many different opinions and all children engaged in an excellent discussion.

Some responses included……

‘Heinz shouldn’t have done it because if he get caught he would go to jail and be no help to his poor sick wife.’

‘Even if he got caught the judge might take pity on him as he had a good reason to steal’

‘Stealing it is better than letting somebody die’

‘I bet the druggist would do the same thing if it was his wife’

‘It’s not worth the risk because the drug mightn’t even work’

‘If you love somebody you would do anything to protect them’

‘Maybe he could try to make another deal, give the druggist more money over a longer time’

‘No matter what would happen to me I would steal it to help my wife, and even if she died, she would die happy knowing that I tried my best to help her’

We will continue to discuss this story next week. One of the children suggested that…

‘we should talk about the difference between making money from drugs and saving lives’

Please share with us your views on these difficult issues.

Thank you.


12 thoughts on “Heinz Dilema Revisited

  1. I am really glad the children have such interesting thoughts on this. Life is not black and white and one would hope that a strong sense of what is right from a moral point of view would predict the outcome.

  2. I think the doctor was mean not to let him pay for the drug after because life is more important than money and it was right to break in to the druggist to get the drug

  3. I think it was wrong for him to steal but right for him to take it without the druggist’s permission because if life gives you lemons, you gotta make lemonade! 🙂

  4. Personally I think it was wrong on what he did but he needed it badly I’m not saying its right he should have confided in someone maybe they could come up with something the drug guy was wrong on what he did poor him but you should never steal anything even if you need it for a good reason (:

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