If someone is drowning and you refuse to help, are you responsible for his death?

Watch
shadowdweller
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#1
I recently watched an episode of a show where one of the characters is dying in a similar situation, and the person with them refuses to help, despite it being well within their capacity.

After watching it, I ended up in a bit of a debate as to whether the friend was responsible for their death... if they could have prevented it, surely that means they're at least partially the cause?

But I know not everyone will agree on this... so the question I put to you is what side of the argument would you take? Would you be responsible for their death in the situation, or are you absolved?
1
reply
Callicious
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
If you refuse to help yet you're able to swim, that sort of situation, I'd think it terribly amoral. Personally speaking I can't swim; I'd still risk my life to jump in to whatever body of water it is and probably die trying to flail like a Magikarp trying to save the person.
6
reply
Plagioclase
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#3
Report 4 years ago
#3
If you had a good reason to believe that this person was in danger of death without your help then yes, definitely.
1
reply
Cain Tesfaye
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#4
Report 4 years ago
#4
nope, you in no way contributed to his death and if you were not there at that moment he would have died in exactly the same way

in english law there is no duty of care between strangers (unless you create the harm, which is not the case here)

(Original post by shadowdweller)
After watching it, I ended up in a bit of a debate as to whether the friend was responsible for their death... if they could have prevented it, surely that means they're at least partially the cause?
if you devote your life to giving vaccines to children in africa you could prevent thousands of deaths, if you donate money to a natural disaster aid appeal you could prevent deaths, etc - are you responsible for deaths in this scenario also?

admittedly there is greater proximity/certainty in your scenario, but this was just to isolate your logic of prevention/causation.
12
reply
alcibiade
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#5
Report 4 years ago
#5
If you have training as a life guard, then yes, it is a professional duty. Otherwise, it is very dangerous as the drowning person is panicking and could pull both of you down.

I was trained as a life guard at 13, though never worked as one. Nonetheless, as a 50-year old, I once witnessed a man commit suicide by jumping out of a window and landing on his head in a river. As blood swirled around his head. I had a split second to act before he was swept away by a strong current. I have regretted not jumping the bank to grab him. He drowned, but his skull was crushed already. I do in fact feel I should have acted (not that I am overwhelmed with guilt).
0
reply
queen-bee
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#6
Report 4 years ago
#6
(Original post by Plagioclase)
If you had a good reason to believe that this person was in danger of death without your help then yes, definitely.
Most definitely
0
reply
PrinceOfOrange
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#7
Report 4 years ago
#7
Interesting one, I'll have to go with no however. While cold and callous if it's intentional, I don't think you could be blamed because of a situation somebody else put themselves in.
0
reply
Angry Bird
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#8
Report 4 years ago
#8
I don't know how someone can go to sleep at night knowing they could have saved someone
1
reply
zainyyyyy
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#9
Report 4 years ago
#9
if you refuse to help someone by putting your life in danger then you should be free. However if you aid the other person which causes a death then you are 100% infault

may sound selfish but if a guy is drowning and there a slim chance i can die, i will not risk it
0
reply
Plagioclase
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#10
Report 4 years ago
#10
(Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
in english law there is no duty of care between strangers (unless you create the harm, which is not the case here)
And English Law cannot possibly be wrong, can it?

(Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
if you devote your life to giving vaccines to children in africa you could prevent thousands of deaths, if you donate money to a natural disaster aid appeal you could prevent deaths, etc - are you responsible for deaths in this scenario also?

admittedly there is greater proximity/certainty in your scenario, but this was just to isolate your logic of prevention/causation.
I don't understand why you're dismissing this, the two situations are completely different as a consequence. There's a pretty major difference between literally dedicating your entire life towards saving lives in an arbitrary part of the world, and being in the exclusive position of being able to save someone's life through direct, reasonable intervention. Changing your life's plans is not an intervention most people would see as reasonable. Saving somebody from death through a fairly basic action most definitely is reasonable.

Of course you're going to rationalise your way out of this but the fact of the matter is that any human being with a conscience would save somebody's life if they knew that they would die without a reasonable level of intervention, whereas not many people would abandon all of their life's plans to work in foreign aid.
5
reply
math42
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#11
Report 4 years ago
#11
This reminds me of a certain Breaking Bad death (I mean, it's so old now, not really a spoiler to say, but perhaps some people still haven't seen it..)

Well, no, they did not cause the death, or even partially cause it. They are not guilty of killing someone, or even manslaughter. But what they did is still tremendously immoral (assuming they didn't have to endanger themselves greatly to save the life).
0
reply
spanker
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#12
Report 4 years ago
#12
I'd get the popcorn and watch as I cannot swim.
0
reply
yungaheartz
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#13
Report 4 years ago
#13
refused why though?

because they couldn't swim, were too scared/in shock to jump in or because they simply didn't want to? if its the latter then yeah they are partially to blame
0
reply
markova21
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#14
Report 4 years ago
#14
For years I thought the Phil Collins song, " In the air tonight" was a true story, and that Collins invited the man concerned[the one who didn't help Collins friend] to a show and sang the song directly to him seated on the front row. But turns out the whole thing is an urban myth.
0
reply
akbar0123
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#15
Report 4 years ago
#15
Maybe, maybe not.
0
reply
Bang Outta Order
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#16
Report 4 years ago
#16
(Original post by shadowdweller)
I recently watched an episode of a show where one of the characters is dying in a similar situation, and the person with them refuses to help, despite it being well within their capacity.

After watching it, I ended up in a bit of a debate as to whether the friend was responsible for their death... if they could have prevented it, surely that means they're at least partially the cause?

But I know not everyone will agree on this... so the question I put to you is what side of the argument would you take? Would you be responsible for their death in the situation, or are you absolved?
This isn't up for discussion. Legally speaking its involuntary manslaughter...
1
reply
Cain Tesfaye
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#17
Report 4 years ago
#17
(Original post by Plagioclase)
And English Law cannot possibly be wrong, can it?
i never said that, i just pointed out that my stance is supported by english law.

Of course you're going to rationalise your way out of this but the fact of the matter is that any human being with a conscience would save somebody's life if they knew that they would die without a reasonable level of intervention, whereas not many people would abandon all of their life's plans to work in foreign aid.
whether someone has a 'conscience' is not relevant as to whether they are responsible for someone else's death.
0
reply
Bang Outta Order
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#18
Report 4 years ago
#18
(Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
This reminds me of a certain Breaking Bad death (I mean, it's so old now, not really a spoiler to say, but perhaps some people still haven't seen it..)

Well, no, they did not cause the death, or even partially cause it. They are not guilty of killing someone, or even manslaughter. But what they did is still tremendously immoral (assuming they didn't have to endanger themselves greatly to save the life).
It is manslaughter.

Accidental death is manslaughter...
if I were a lawyer I'd definitely try to pin someone for it in this case. And win.
0
reply
Cain Tesfaye
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#19
Report 4 years ago
#19
(Original post by 0to100)
This isn't up for discussion. Legally speaking its involuntary manslaughter...
no it isn't... there is no duty of care among strangers in english law.
0
reply
Bang Outta Order
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#20
Report 4 years ago
#20
(Original post by Cain Tesfaye)
no it isn't... there is no duty of care among strangers in english law.
Oh be quiet you.

And just because there isn't one doesn't mean there shouldn't be.

It's manslaughter.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

If you don't put your camera on in online lessons, why is that?

My teacher doesn't want us to (73)
16.94%
No one else does (135)
31.32%
I'm embarrassed about my background (46)
10.67%
I feel self-conscious showing my face (149)
34.57%
We don't use a video platform (7)
1.62%
I don't have a camera (10)
2.32%
Something else (tell us in the thread) (11)
2.55%

Watched Threads

View All