The Rule of Rescue in Clinical Practice
Clinical Ethics 2009 March; 4(1): 50-54
People often have a strong intuitive sense that we ought to rescue those in serious need, even in cases where we could produce better outcomes by acting in other ways. It has become common in such cases to refer to this as the Rule of Rescue. Within the medical field this rule has predominantly been discussed in relation to decisions about whether to fund particular treatments. While, in this setting, the arguments in favour of the Rule of Rescue have generally been found to be unconvincing, there are some reasons for thinking that it may have more of a role to play at the clinical level. In this article, we examine three lines that such reasoning might take. In each case, we argue that the reasons given do not support the adoption of a Rule of Rescue in clinical practice.
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