Do not despair about severity—yet

Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (8):557-558 (2020)
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Abstract

In a recent extended essay, philosopher Daniel Hausman goes a long way towards dismissing severity as a morally relevant attribute in the context of priority setting in healthcare. In this response, we argue that although Hausman certainly points to real problems with how severity is often interpreted and operationalised within the priority setting context, the conclusion that severity does not contain plausible ethical content is too hasty. Rather than abandonment, our proposal is to take severity seriously by carefully mapping the possibly multiple underlying accounts to well-established ethical theories, in a way that is both morally defensible and aligned with the term’s colloquial uses.

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Author Profiles

Mathias Barra
Akershus University Hospital
Erik Gustavsson
Linkoping University

Citations of this work

Should rare diseases get special treatment?Monica Magalhaes - 2022 - Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (2):86-92.

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References found in this work

IX.—Essentially Contested Concepts.W. B. Gallie - 1956 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 56 (1):167-198.
Challenges for Principles of Need in Health Care.Niklas Juth - 2015 - Health Care Analysis 23 (1):73-87.
The significance of ‘severity’.Daniel Hausman - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (8):545-551.

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