Allocating Scarce Resources and Alternative Medicine

Topics: Intrinsic value, Bias, Health care provider Pages: 3 (971 words) Published: April 14, 2012
4. Allocating scarce resources
Discuss in detail which, if any, non-medical criteria it would be permissible to rely upon in allocating scarce resources in health care. 1. Sympathy Rule:
Impartiality rule: “health care professionals should usually be impartial in helping patients” (p. 189) But the rules used must be appropriate for people with ordinary human sympathies and feelings, example, biases toward friends or relatives. So the rules should allow for some bias – It was okay for Alice to send her aunt in first. Argument for the sympathy rule

* The sympathy rule would not permit HC providers to help their relatives/friends in any way they like. It would permit them to give priority to their relatives only in very extreme, life and death situations. * From society’s point of view this rule is okay b/c society values both impartiality and close ties between relatives and friends. The sympathy rule is a kind of compromise between the two. Objection to the sympathy rule

* We know from experience that people will already be biased toward their relatives and friends, and will have a tendency to give them priority where possible. * So, to counteract this innate bias, there must be a very strict rule against nepotism. However difficult it may be to be completely impartial as between your mother and a perfect stranger, this is what morality requires of HC professionals. 2. Innocents First Rule:

Was Alice justified in sending her innocent aunt in before Terrance who caused the accident by his negligence? “Patient A, who is innocent and who cannot wait for care, ought to be given priority over patient B, who is known to be at fault for the injury and who also cannot wait, other things equal.” (p. 206) Third Party Interests

1) Childless person vs. parent of young child (dependents case) 2) Drunk vs. doctor (the public good case)
3) Person with highly infectious disease vs. person without infectious disease (the innocent threat...
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