Current challenges in medical practice, research, and administration demand physicians who are familiar with bioethics, health law, and health economics. Curriculum directors at American Association of Medical Colleges-affiliated medical schools were sent confidential surveys requesting the number of required hours of the above subjects and the years in which they were taught, as well as instructor names. The number of relevant publications since 1990 for each named instructor was assessed by a PubMed search.In sum, teaching in all three subjects combined (...) comprises less than two percent of the total hours in the American medical curriculum, and most instructors have not recently published articles in the fields they teach. This suggests that medical schools should reevaluate their curricula and instructors in bioethics, health law, and health economics. (shrink)
We consider an ethical dilemma in global health: is it ethically acceptable to provide some patients cheaper treatments that are less effective or more toxic than the treatments other patients receive? We argue that it is ethical to consider local resource constraints when deciding what interventions to provide. The provision of cheaper, less effective health care is frequently the most effective way of promoting health and realizing the ethical values of utility, equality, and priority to the worst off.
In this commentary, I critique three aspects of Emily Walsh's proposal to reduce the moral and legal weight of advance directives: (1) the ambiguity of its initial thesis, (2) its views about the ethics and legality of clinical practice, and (3) its interpretation and application of Ronald Dworkin’s account of advance directives and L.A. Paul's view on transformative experience. I also consider what Walsh’s proposal would mean for people facing the prospect of dementia. I conclude that our reasons to honor (...) many advance directives survive the move to a transformative experience framework. (shrink)
In this short response to Kerstein and Bognar, we clarify three aspects of the complete lives system, which we propose as a system of allocating scarce medical interventions. We argue that the complete lives system provides meaningful guidance even though it does not provide an algorithm. We also defend the investment modification to the complete lives system, which prioritizes adolescents and older children over younger children; argue that sickest-first allocation remains flawed when scarcity is absolute and ongoing; and argue that (...) Kerstein and Bognar are mistaken to base their allocation principles on differences in personhood. (shrink)
This article examines a fundamental question of justice in global health. Is it ethically preferable to provide a larger number of people with cheaper treatments that are less effective (or more toxic), or to restrict treatments to a smaller group to provide a more expensive but more effective or less toxic alternative? We argue that choosing to provide less effective or more toxic interventions to a larger number of people is favored by the principles of utility, equality, and priority for (...) those worst-off. Advocates are mistaken to demand that medical care provided in low-income and middle-income countries should be the same as in high-income countries. (shrink)
In this commentary, I suggest expanding the deliberative aspects of critical care policy development in two ways. First, critical-care policy development should expand the scope of deliberation by leaving fewer issues up to expertise or private choice. For instance. it should allow deliberation about the relevance of age, disability, social position, and psychological well-being to allocation decisions. Second, it should broaden both the set of costs considered and the set of stakeholders represented in the deliberative process. In particular, it should (...) consider efforts to reduce the cost of end-of-life care and to redirect resources away from the provision of costly interventions, and should expand the set of individuals included in deliberation to include stakeholders outside the health-care system. (shrink)
This Note offers a normative critique of cost-benefit analysis, one informed by deontological moral theory, in the context of the debate over whether tort litigation or a non-tort approach is the appropriate response to mass harm. The first Part argues that the difference between lay and expert intuitions about risk and harm often reflects a difference in normative judgments about the existing facts, rather than a difference in belief about what facts exist, which makes the lay intuitions more defensible. The (...) second Part considers how tort has dealt with this divergence between lay and expert perspectives. It also evaluates how tort's approach has differed from that of public law approaches to accident law, such as legislative compensation and risk regulation by administrative agencies. Ultimately, tort's ability to recognize the value of lay intuitions supports retaining the tort perspective as part of our societal arsenal of responses to risk and harm. This ability can also support a pro-tort perspective in two practical debates in the arena of tort law: that over preemption of tort law by administrative agency judgments, and that over access to tort recovery as part of a no-fault system. (shrink)
In this Commentary, I propose an ethical framework for ethical discussions around the allocation of scarce resources in COVID-19 response. The framework incorporates four principles: beneficence (benefiting people by saving lives or years of life), equality, remedying disadvantage, and recognizing past conduct. I then discuss how the framework interacts with ethical constraints against using people as a mere means and against causing death. The commentary closes by criticizing the equation of deontological ethics with random or first-come, first-served allocation and of (...) allocation that aims to save more lives or years of life with utilitarianism.. (shrink)