How should medical services be distributed within society? Who should pay for them? Is it right that large amounts should be spent on sophisticated technology and expensive operations, or would the resources be better employed in, for instance, less costly preventive measures? These and others are the questions addreses in this book. Norman Daniels examines some of the dilemmas thrown up by conflicting demands for medical attention, and goes on to advance a theory of justice in the distribution of (...) class='Hi'>healthcare. The central argument is that healthcare, both preventive and acute, has a crucial effect on equality of opportunity, and that a principle guaranteeing equality of opportunity must underly the distribution of health-care services. Access to care, preventive measures, treatment of the elderly, and the obligations of doctors and medical administrations are fully discussed, and the theory is shown to underwrite various practical policies in the area. (shrink)
Ethics consultation has become an integral part of the fabric of U.S. healthcare delivery. This article summarizes the second edition of the Core Competencies for HealthCare Ethics Consultation report of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. The core knowledge and skills competencies identified in the first edition of Core Competencies have been adopted by various ethics consultation services and education programs, providing evidence of their endorsement as healthcare ethics consultation (HCEC) (...) standards. This revised report was prompted by thinking in the field that has evolved since the original report. Patients, family members, and healthcare providers who encounter ethical questions or concerns that ethics consultants could help address deserve access to efficient, effective, and accountable HCEC services. All individuals providing such services should be held to the standards of competence and quality described in the revised report. (shrink)
This paper firstly distinguishes between principles of “global justice” that apply the same anywhere and everywhere – Tännsjö’s utilitarianism, egalitarianism, prioritarianism and such like – and principles of “local justice” that apply within the specific sphere of health-care. Sometimes the latter might just be a special case of the former – but not always. Secondly, it discusses reasons, many psychological in nature, why physicians might devote excessive resources to prolonging life pointlessly, showing once again that those reasons might (...) themselves be morally significant. (shrink)
Scenarios involving the introduction of artificially intelligent (AI) assistive technologies in healthcare practices raise several ethical issues. In this paper, I discuss four objections to introducing AI assistive technologies in healthcare practices as replacements of human care. I analyse them as demands for felt care, good care, private care, and real care. I argue that although these objections cannot stand as good reasons for a general and a priori rejection (...) of AI assistive technologies as such or as replacements of human care, they demand us to clarify what is at stake, to develop more comprehensive criteria for good care, and to rethink existing practices of care. In response to these challenges, I propose a (modified) capabilities approach to care and emphasize the inherent social dimension of care. I also discuss the demand for real care by introducing the ‘Care Experience Machine’ thought experiment. I conclude that if we set the standards of care too high when evaluating the introduction of AI assistive technologies in healthcare, we have to reject many of our existing, low-tech healthcare practices. (shrink)
Many healthcare professionals (HCPs) are understandably reluctant to treat patients in environments infested with bedbugs, in part due to the risk of themselves becoming bedbug vectors to their own homes and workplaces. However, bedbugs are increasingly widespread in care settings, such as nursing homes, as well as in private homes visited by HCPs, leading to increased questions of how healthcare organizations and their staff ought to respond. This situation is associated with a range (...) of ethical considerations including the duty of care, stigmatization, vulnerability, confidentiality, risks for third parties, and professional autonomy. In this article, we analyze these issues using a case study approach. We consider how patients whose living environments are infested with bedbugs can receive care in the community setting in a manner that supports their well-being, is consistent with fairness in care provision, and takes into account risks for HCPs and third parties. We also discuss limits and obstacles to the provision of care in these situations. (shrink)
There are various grounds on which one may wish to distinguish a right to healthcare from a right to health. In this article, I review some old grounds before introducing some new grounds. But my central task is to argue that separating a right to healthcare from a right to health has objectionable consequences. I offer two main objections. The domestic objection is that separating the two rights prevents the state from fulfilling (...) its duty to maximise the health it provides each citizen from its fixed health budget. The international objection is that separating a human right to healthcare fails the moral requirement that, for any given moral human right, the substance to which any two right-holders are entitled be of an equal standard. (shrink)
This is a short reply to Professor Reichlin’s comment on my book Setting Health-Care Priorities. What Ethical Theories Tell Us. The version of prioritarianism I rely on in the book is defended as the most plausible one. The general claim that there is convergence between all plausible theories on distributive justice is also defended with regard to assisted reproduction, disability, and enhancement.
HealthCare Ethics Healthcare ethics is the field of applied ethics that is concerned with the vast array of moral decision-making situations that arise in the practice of medicine in addition to the procedures and the policies that are designed to guide such practice. Of all of the aspects of the human body, and … Continue reading HealthCare Ethics →.
BackgroundAs hospitals have grown more complex, the ethical concerns they confront have grown correspondingly complicated. Many hospitals have consequently developed healthcare ethics programs that include far more than ethics consultation services alone. Yet systematic research on these programs is lacking.MethodsBased on a national, cross-sectional survey of a stratified sample of 600 US hospitals, we report on the prevalence, scope, activities, staffing, workload, financial compensation, and greatest challenges facing HCEPs.ResultsAmong 372 hospitals whose informants responded to an online survey, (...) 97% of hospitals have HCEPs. Their scope includes clinical ethics functions in virtually all hospitals, but includes other functions in far fewer hospitals: ethical leadership, regulatory compliance, business ethics, and research ethics. HCEPs are responsible for providing ongoing ethics education to various target audiences including all staff, nurses, staff physicians, hospital leadership, medical residents and the community/general public. HCEPs staff are most commonly involved in policy work through review of existing policies but are less often involved in development of new policies. HCEPs have an ethics representative in executive leadership in 80.5% of hospitals, have representation on other hospital committees in 40.7%, are actively engaged in community outreach in 22.6%, and lead large-scale ethics quality improvement initiatives in 17.7%. In general, major teaching hospitals and urban hospitals have the most highly integrated ethics programs with the broadest scope and greatest number of activities. Larger hospitals, academically affiliated hospitals, and urban hospitals have significantly more individuals performing HCEP work and significantly more individuals receiving financial compensation specifically for that work. Overall, the most common greatest challenge facing HCEPs is resource shortages, whereas underutilization is the most common greatest challenge for hospitals with fewer than 100 beds. Respondents’ strategies for managing challenges include staff training and additional funds.ConclusionsWhile this study must be cautiously interpreted due to its limitations, the findings may be useful for understanding the characteristics of HCEPs in US hospitals and the factors associated with these characteristics. This information may contribute to exploring ways to strengthen HCEPs. (shrink)
Health professionals increasingly face patients with complex health problems and this pressurizes them to cooperate. The authors have analyzed how the complexity of healthcare problems relates to two types of cooperation: consultation and multidisciplinary teamwork (MTW). Moreover, they have analyzed the impact of these two types of cooperation on perceived professional autonomy. Two teams were studied, one team dealing with geriatric patients and another treating oncology patients. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews, studied written documents, held (...) informal discussions and observed the teams at work. Consultation was most likely to take place when a patient had multiple problems. However, if these problems were interrelated, i.e. the solution for one problem interfered with solving another, then MTW was favored. The same was true when the available information was equivocal such that there were conflicting interpretations of a problem. How the professionals perceived the relationship between complexity and the need to cooperate depended on their expertise, their occupational background, and their work orientation. Consultation did not affect the professional autonomy of the healthcare professionals. MTW however did decrease the perceived level of professional autonomy. The extent to which this occurred seemed to depend on the quality of the interpersonal relations within the team. The findings can help in selecting the most appropriate and efficient type of cooperation based on the complexity of a patient’s problems. They can also help team leaders to stimulate reflection and feedback processes, and medical trainers to develop competencies among students related to such teamwork behaviors. (shrink)
Contemporary bioethics recognizes the importance of the culture in shaping ethical issues, yet in practice, a process for ethical analysis and decision making is rarely adjusted to the culture and ethnicity of involved parties. This is of a particular concern in a healthcare system that is caring for a growing Aboriginal population. We raise the possibility of constructing a bioethics grounded in traditional Aboriginal knowledge. As an example of an element of traditional knowledge that contains strong ethical (...) guidance, we present the story of the Gifts of the Seven Grandfathers. We note a resemblance of this Ojibway teaching to virtue ethics in European traditions, but we suggest that there are also important differences in how these two traditions are currently presented. We hope that further engagement with a variety of indigenous moral teachings and traditions could improve healthcare involving Aboriginal patients and communities, and enrich the discipline of bioethics. (shrink)
The article provides answers to comments in this journal on my recent book, Setting Health-Care Priorities. What Ethical Theories Tell Us. Did I address all of the relevant theories? Yes, I did. Was my argument underdeveloped in any respects? Yes, at least in one as I should perhaps have discussed contractual ethical thinking more carefully. I do so in this response. Moreover, the critical comments raised have helped me to clarify my argument in many ways, for which I (...) thank my critics. (shrink)
In this paper we explore the relation between health-care needs and patients’ desires within shared decision-making in a context of priority setting in healthcare. We begin by outlining some general characteristics of the concept of health-care need as well as the notions of SDM and desire. Secondly we will discuss how to distinguish between needs and desires for healthcare. Thirdly we present three cases which all aim to bring out and (...) discuss a number of queries which seem to arise due to the double focus on a patient’s need and what that patient desires. These queries regard the following themes: the objectivity and moral force of needs, the prediction about what kind of patients which will appear on a micro level, implications for ranking in priority setting, difficulties regarding assessing and comparing benefits, and implications for evidence-based medicine. (shrink)
Healthcare in France falls almost exclusively under theresponsibility of the Social Security department, which coversalmost all the expenditures related to healthcare,whether hospitalization or medication is concerned.For severe diseases or surgery the coverage is likelyto reach as much as 100%. The medical expendituresfor several severe diseases, such as cancer, myocardialinfarction, or neurodegenerative diseases are 100% coveredfor a period of time as long as three months. For some procedures, full coverage may be achieved by usinga subscription (...) to private healthcare insurance.Access to cover by the state has recently been openedto anyone living in France, after passage of a special law. There is still a lack of intensive care and hospice beds, given the rapidly increasing number of elderly who cannot be maintainedat home. There is a tendency to reduce the number ofbeds in private and public hospitals due to thegreat number of such institutions and the generalconcern that a low volume of procedures, associatedwith inexperienced healthcare professionals, is likelyto increase morbidity and mortality as well as publichealth care expenditure. Patients are still free tochoose doctors and hospitals (whether privateor public), provided that beds are available and thatspecific procedures can be carried out in thevicinity. So far no waiting list is needed, exceptfor specific procedures performed by a few specialists of high repute. Healthcare expenses are increasingcontinuously, which results in a very expensive systemin France. (shrink)
This integrative review aims to provide a synthesis of research findings of health-care professionals’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to patient capacity to consent to or refuse treatment within the general hospital setting. Search strategies included relevant health databases, hand searching of key journals, ‘snowballing’ and expert recommendations. The review identified various knowledge gaps and attitudinal dispositions of health-care professionals, which influence their behaviours and decision-making in relation to capacity to consent processes. The findings suggest (...) that there is tension between legal, ethical and professional standards relating to the assessment of capacity and consent within healthcare. Legislation and policy guidance concerning capacity assessment processes are lacking, and this may contribute to inconsistencies in practice. (shrink)
The current U.S. healthcare system, with both rising costs and demands, is unsustainable. The combination of a sense of individual entitlement to healthcare and limited acceptance of individual responsibility with respect to personal health has contributed to a system which overspends and underperforms. This sense of entitlement has its roots in a perceived right to healthcare. Beginning with the so-called moral right to healthcare, the issue of who (...) provides healthcare has evolved as individual rights have trumped societal rights. The concept of government providing some level of healthcare ranges from limited government intervention, a ‘negative right to healthcare’, to various forms of a ‘positive right to healthcare’. The latter ranges from a decent minimum level of care to the best possible healthcare with access for all. We clarify the concept of legal rights as an entitlement to healthcare and present distributive and social justice counter arguments to present healthcare as a privilege that can be provided/earned/altered/revoked by governments. We propose that unlike a ‘right’, which is unconditional, a ‘privilege’ has limitations. Going forward, expectations about what will be made available should be lowered while taking personal responsibility for one’s health must for elevated. To have access to healthcare in the future will mean some loss of personal rights and an increase in personal responsibility for gaining or maintaining one’s health. (shrink)
In “The Ethics of Advertising for HealthCare Services” (2014), Schenker, Arnold, and London argue that advertisements for physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare services are morally problematic and ought to be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as it regulates prescription drug ads. I argue that the regulation of prescription drug ads has been so ineffective that, if the harms of healthcare service ads are similar to the harms of drug (...) ads, such regulation is bound to fail. This is a major public health concern, because any good produced by these ads does not necessarily morally compensate for the harm caused. If the ads cannot be banned entirely, I propose a regulatory strategy that involves redesigning them from the ground up. (shrink)
The practice of health-care professional involvement in capital punishment has come under scrutiny since the implementation of lethal injection as a method of execution, raising questions of the goals of medicine and the ethics of medicalized procedures. The American Medical Association and other professional associations have issued statements prohibiting physician involvement in capital punishment because medicine is dedicated to preserving life. I address the three primary arguments against health-care professionals being involved in lethal injection and argue (...) that they are not strong enough to prohibit physician involvement in the lethal injection process. (shrink)
To better understand the available publications addressing ethical issues in rural healthcare we sought to identify the ethics literature that specifically focuses on rural America. We wanted to determine the extent to which the rural ethics literature was distributed between general commentaries, descriptive summaries of research, and original research publications. We identified 55 publications that specifically and substantively addressed rural healthcare ethics, published between 1966 and 2004. Only 7 (13%) of these publications were original (...) research articles while (12) 22% were descriptive summaries of research and 36 (65%) were general commentaries. The majority of publications examined (55%) were clinically focused while 27% addressed organizational ethics and 18% addressed ethical ramifications of rural healthcare policy at a national or community level. Our findings indicate that there are a limited number of publications focusing on rural healthcare ethics, suggesting a need for scholars and researchers to more rigorously address rural ethics issues. (shrink)
The paper begins by tracing the historical development of American medicine as practice, profession, and industry from the eighteenth century to the present. This historical outline emphasizes shifting conceptions of physicians and physician ethics. It lays the basis for showing, in the second section, how contemporary controversies about the physician’s role in managed care take root in medicine’s past. In the final two sections, I revisit both the historical analysis and its application to contemporary debates. I argue that historical (...) narratives can function as “master narratives” that suppress or leave out historical facts. I bring to the surface what is covered up by the master narrative approach, and show its relevance to contemporary ethical debates. I conclude by proposing that preserving the integrity of medicine will require modifying the master narratives we tell about physicians. The integrity of medicine also offers new perspectives for thinking about managed care and the broader topic of healthcare reform. (shrink)
Rationing is the allocation of a good under conditions of scarcity, which necessarily implies that some who want and could be benefitted by that good will not receive it. One reflection of our ambivalence towards healthcare rationing is reflected in our resistance to having it distributed in a market like most other goods—most Americans reject ability to pay as the basis for distributing healthcare. They do not view healthcare as just another (...) commodity to be distributed by markets. Despite this widespread view, we are the only developed country without some form of universal health insurance, and so for the 46 million Americans without health insurance their access to healthcare often does depend on their ability to pay for it. Rationing largely remains a topic that the public, their elected leaders, and many healthcare professionals prefer to avoid. Ever-growing costs of healthcare will increasingly force the practice and issue of healthcare resource prioritization and rationing into the open for public, professional, and political attention. This paper explores some of the features of those practices and issues that make them especially ethically and politically difficult. Those issues will not be easily resolved, but avoiding them will not avoid the need or reality of rationing, it will only mean that it will go on covertly and unexamined. That will lead neither to better or more legitimate prioritization and rationing decisions. (shrink)
Churchill argues that every society rations healthcare-the problem is to do so justly. The central claim of the book is that a more "social" or communitarian starting point is needed. The book concludes with a brief discussion of healthcare rights and a sketchy account of the role of the physician in rationing.
The U.S. 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exempts members of healthcare sharing ministries from the individual mandate to have minimum essential insurance coverage. Little is generally known about these religious organizations and even less critical attention has been brought to bear on them and their ACA exemption. Both deserve close scrutiny due to the exemption’s less than clear legislative justification, their potential influence on the ACA’s policy and ethical success, and their salience to current (...) religious liberty debates surrounding the expansion of religious exemptions from ACA responsibilities for both individuals and corporations. Analyzing documents of the United States’ three largest healthcare sharing ministries and related material, I examine these organizations and their ACA exemption with particular consideration of their ethical dimensions. Here a thick description of the nature and workings of healthcare sharing ministries precedes a similar account of the ACA exemption. From these empirical analyses, five ethical and policy concerns emerge: the charity versus insurance status of these ministries; the conflation of two ACA religious exemptions; the tension between the values of religious liberty and of justice; the potential undermining of ACA policy goals; and the questionable compliance of healthcare sharing ministries with ACA exemption requirements. An accurate and informed understanding of HCSMs is required for policymakers and others to justify the ACA exemption of healthcare sharing ministry members. A sufficient justification would address at least the five ethical and policy concerns raised here. (shrink)
Historically associated with military service, conscientious objection has become a significant phenomenon in healthcare. Mark Wicclair offers a comprehensive ethical analysis of conscientious objection in three representative healthcare professions: medicine, nursing and pharmacy. He critically examines two extreme positions: the 'incompatibility thesis', that it is contrary to the professional obligations of practitioners to refuse provision of any service within the scope of their professional competence; and 'conscience absolutism', that they should be exempted from performing (...) any action contrary to their conscience. He argues for a compromise approach that accommodates conscience-based refusals within the limits of specified ethical constraints. He also explores conscientious objection by students in each of the three professions, discusses conscience protection legislation and conscience-based refusals by pharmacies and hospitals, and analyzes several cases. His book is a valuable resource for scholars, professionals, trainees, students, and anyone interested in this increasingly important aspect of healthcare. (shrink)
This article argues that teaching medical and nursing students healthcare ethics in an interdisciplinary setting is beneficial for them. Doing so produces an education that is theoretically more consistent with the goals of healthcare ethics, can help to reduce moral stress and burnout, and can improve patient care. Based on a literature review, theoretical arguments and individual observation, this article will show that the benefits of interdisciplinary education, specifically in ethics, outweigh the difficulties (...) many schools may have in developing such courses. (shrink)
It is generally assumed that allocation problems in a socialized healthcare system result from limited resources and too much demand. Attempts at solutions have therefore centered in increasing efficiency, using evidence-based decision-making and on developing ways of balancing competing demands within the existing resource limitation. This article suggests that some of the difficulties in macro-allocation decision-making may result from the use of conflicting ethical perspectives by decision-makers. It presents evidence from a preliminary Canadian study to this effect.
In philosophy, intelligence is less important than character, or so Wittgenstein once argued. In this paper, in a similar vein, I suggest that in healthcare ethics consultation character is of preeminent importance. I suggest that the activity of ethics consultation can be understood as "training in virtue," and what distinguishes the good healthcare ethics consultant from his/her average colleague are differences in traits of character. The underlying assumption is that one's use of knowledge and (...) abilities are ultimately a function of who one is and how one perceives and confronts situations of moral uncertainty and conflict. In discussing the original case presented by Mark Bliton, I focus on the virtues of wisdom, justice, courage, compassion and humility. (shrink)
Americans' appetite for life-prolonging therapies has led to unsustainable growth in healthcare costs. It is tempting to target older people for healthcare rationing based on their disproportionate use of healthcare resources and lifespan already lived, but aged-based rationing is unacceptable to many. Systems reforms can improve the efficiency of healthcare and may lessen pressure to ration services, but difficult choices still must be made to limit expensive, marginally beneficial (...) interventions. In the absence of agreement on principles to govern healthcare resource allocation, a fair, open priority-setting process should be created to allow for reasonable disagreement on principles while being seen as legitimate by all stakeholders. At the patient-care level, careful discussions about the benefits and burdens of medical intervention and support for slow medicine — a gentle, family-centered care approach for frail elders — can do much to avoid harming these patients with aggressive yet unwanted medical care while reducing wasteful spending. (shrink)
This thoughtful reflection on a valuable questionnaire survey of patients' attitudes regarding being told that their dentist had been infected with hepatitis B is of very direct relevance to HIV, as the authors show.1 The measured tone and analytical approach are a welcome change from the stridency that has characterised some of the debate elsewhere. I am very conscious that more time and effort has gone into drafting and redrafting, amending, revising and refining policy in this area than in any (...) other area of HIV control, with the probable exception of blood transfusion. Yet this is the setting that has the lowest risk among all established routes. Why has it been so hard to establish a satisfactory policy and practice to deal with this situation?Many factors, of course, apply. However, much seems to stem from a prevailing view, fostered by recent political administrations, that healthcare can be delivered in a risk-free way. This has also been linked with a “blame culture”, where adverse outcomes are seen as someone's fault, and where the professions are regarded with distrust. It has been fuelled by levels of concern about risk for HIV that have stemmed more from media “stories” about risk than careful risk assessment.Hence Blatchford et al comment that public anxiety about HIV relative to hepatitis B was a factor in assessing how the incident was handled, implying that HIV was of greater concern - even though the risk of transmission is some two orders of magnitude less. Interestingly, they also comment that, because the risk of death with HIV is higher than for hepatitis B, this balances the overall risk. I am not sure of the validity of this argument, …. (shrink)
This clear, accessible text/reference explores the full range of contemporary issues in healthcare ethics from a practical wisdom approach. The authors present the fundamental concerns of modern medical ethics–-autonomy, beneficence, justice, and confidentiality-–and then provide analysis, cases, and insights from professional literature to discuss them. Throughout, the discussion starts with larger issues or concepts and principles and then focuses on specific problems or complications.
Many international declarations state that human beings have a human right to healthcare. However, is there a human right to healthcare? What grounds this right, and who has the corresponding duties to promote this right? Elsewhere, I have argued that human beings have human rights to the fundamental conditions for pursuing a good life. Drawing on this fundamental conditions approach of human rights, I offer a novel way of grounding a human right to (...) class='Hi'>healthcare. (shrink)
This essay attempts to describe contemporary Catholic sponsored healthcare in the United States and to describe the purpose and structure of these particular Christian charitable organizations within the broader society. As healthcare has become more complex, critics claim that there is not a need for Catholic sponsored healthcare any longer. The author attempts to evaluate critically whether Catholic healthcare has a place in contemporary society. He reviews some salient (...) biblical, ecclesial, and justice teachings of the Church to demonstrate why religious institutional presence is still needed. The author reviews contemporary healthcare structures to show how this is accomplished. He also uncovers additional issues which need to be addressed in order for these charitable institutions to carry on the ministry of the Church, to shape social structures, and to proclaim the reign of God. (shrink)
Conscience in Reproductive HealthCare responds to the growing worldwide trend of healthcare professionals conscientiously refusing to provide abortions and similar reproductive health services in countries where these services are legal and professionally accepted. Carolyn McLeod argues that conscientious objectors in healthcare should prioritize the interests of patients in receiving care over their own interest in acting on their conscience. She defends this "prioritizing approach" to conscientious objection over the more (...) popular "compromise approach" without downplaying the importance of healthcare professionals having a conscience or the moral complexity of their conscientious refusals. McLeod's central argument is that healthcare professionals who are gatekeepers of services such as abortions are fiduciaries for their patients and for the public they are licensed to serve. As such, they owe a duty of loyalty to these beneficiaries and should give primacy to their beneficiaries' interests in accessing care. This conclusion is informed by what McLeod believes is morally at stake for the main parties to the conflicts generated by conscientious refusals: the objector and the patient. What is at stake, according to McLeod, depends on the relevant socio-political context, but typically includes the objector's integrity and the patient's interest in avoiding harm. (shrink)
In 1990 the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became federal law with the express purpose to “establish a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities."l The act includes separate titles prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public services, transportation and public accommodations. Since it prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in both public and private services and programs, in healthcare “it applies to programs provided by (...) the government, benefits provided by employers, and services pro- ”2 vided by physicians.Moreover, the ADA defines disability broadly to include “any.. (shrink)
An individual’s right to refuse life-sustaining treatment is a fundamental expression of patient autonomy; however, supporting this right poses ethical dilemmas for healthcare providers when the patient has attempted suicide. Emergency physicians encounter patients who have attempted suicide and are likely among the first medical providers to face the dilemma of honoring the patient’s DNR or intervening to reverse the effects of potentially fatal actions. We illustrate this issue by introducing a case example in which the DNR of a terminally (...) ill woman was not honored because the cause of her cardiac arrest was suicide. We argue that although a terminal diagnosis should change the way healthcare providers respond to a suicide attempt, many of the theoretical underpinnings for how one should treat suicide attempts—especially the criterion of external reasonability, that is the action to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining measures is reasonable independent of the precipitating event—are common to all situations :3–12, 2013). The presumption that patients who attempt suicide lack capacity due to acute mental illness is flawed because it fails to account for a competent individual’s reasonable preference to not be forced to live in an unbearable, terminal condition. In states without legislation allowing physician aid in dying, patients and providers must grapple with these limitations on a case-by-case basis. In cases where the patient has a limited life expectancy and there is not concern for psychiatric illness as the primary cause of the suicidal action, we argue that the negative right to refuse life-sustaining treatment should prevail. (shrink)
This paper aims to provide an argument for saying that a publicly funded healthcare system, available to all free at the point of delivery, is morally superior to a market system, and to provide a framework for deciding questions about which forms of healthcare should be included in such a public system. The argument presents healthcare as a âheadâ, in the sense of something to which human beings are morally entitled as (...) a necessary condition for a life worthy of human dignity. Alternative arguments for similar conclusions, proposed by Daniels and Buchanan, are critically examined and rejected. (shrink)
Henry Shue’s model of basic rights and their correlative duties provides an excellent framework for analysing the requirements of global distributive justice, and for theorising about the minimum acceptable standards of human entitlement and wellbeing. Shue bases his model on the claim that certain ‘basic’ rights are of universal instrumental value, and are necessary for the enjoyment of any other rights, and of any ‘decent life’. Shue’s model provides a comprehensive argument about the importance of certain fundamental goods for all (...) human lives, though he does not consider health or healthcare in any significant detail. Adopting Shue’s model, I argue that access to healthcare is of sufficient importance to the enjoyment of any other rights that it qualifies as what Shue describes as a ‘basic’ right. I also argue that the basic right to healthcare is compatible with the basic rights model, and is required by it in order to for it to achieve its goal of enabling right holders to enjoy any decent life. In making this claim I also explore the requirements of the basic right to healthcare in terms of Shue’s triumvirate of duties and with reference to several key examples. (shrink)
In the debates surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, little attention has been paid to definitions of important terms like "healthcare," "disease," and "disorder." When healthcare is discussed, one assumes universal definitions of terms and a common understanding of their meanings. But delving deeper into the subject, one finds that a common understanding is lacking. Specifically, the liberal tradition, from which the healthcare act was derived, defines important (...) class='Hi'>healthcare terms in ways that most people would not. This paper applies Alasdair MacIntyre's discussion of tradition-based rational enquiry to show that proper definitions of "healthcare," "disease," and "disorder" should be based on the normal functioning of the organs and organ systems of the human body. (shrink)
This article will examine the Catholic concept of global justice within a healthcare framework as it relates to women's needs for delivery doctors in the developing world and women's demands for assisted reproduction in the developed world. I will first discuss justice as a theory, situating it within Catholic social teachings. The Catholic perspective on global justice in healthcare demands that everyone have access to basic needs before elective treatments are offered to the wealthy. (...) After exploring specific discrepancies in global healthcare justice, I will point to the need for delivery doctors in the developing world to provide basic assistance to women who hazard many pregnancies as a priority before offering assisted reproduction to women in the developed world. The wide disparities between maternal health in the developing world and elective fertility treatments in the developed world are clearly unjust within Catholic social teachings. I conclude this article by offering policy suggestions for moving closer to healthcare justice via doctor distribution. (shrink)
According to HealthCare.gov, by improving access to quality health for all Americans, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will reduce disparities in health insurance coverage. One way this will happen under the provisions of the ACA is by creating a new health insurance marketplace (a health insurance exchange) by 2014 in which “all people will have a choice for quality, affordable health insurance even if a job loss, job switch, move or illness occurs”. This does (...) not mean that everyone will have whatever insurance coverage he or she wants. The provisions of the ACA require that each of the four benefit categories of plans (known as bronze, silver, gold and platinum) provides no less than the benefits available in an “essential health benefits package”. However, without a clear understanding of what criteria must be satisfied for healthcare to be essential, the ACA’s requirement is much too vague and open to multiple, potentially conflicting interpretations. Indeed, without such understanding, in the rush to provide health insurance coverage to as many people as is economically feasible, we may replace one kind of disparity (lack of health insurance) with another kind of disparity (lack of adequate health insurance). Thus, this paper explores the concept of “essential benefits”, arguing that the “essential health benefits package” in the ACA should be one that optimally satisfies the basic needs of the people covered. (shrink)
Tort and contract law have not kept pace with the stunning changes in medicine's economics. Physicians are still expected to deliver the same standard of care to everyone, regardless whether it is paid for. Health plans increasingly face liability for unfortunate outcomes, even those stemming from society's mandate to keep costs down while improving population health. This book sorts through the chaos. After reviewing the inadequacies of current tort and contract law, Morreim proposes that an intelligent assignment (...) of legal liability must rest on an intelligent division of labor between health plans and providers, beginning with the question "who should be doing what, for the best delivery of healthcare." She also provides a comprehensive reference source of case law, commentary, and empirical literature. (shrink)