Shattuck Lecture-Allocating Scarce Medical Resources and the Availability of Organ Transplantation: Some Moral Presuppositions
Engelhardt, H. Tristram
New England Journal of Medicine. 1984 Jul 5; 311(1): 66-71.
Moral and conceptual assumptions that shape the public policy debate on society's obligation to provide for organ transplantation are examined. It is difficult to achieve consensus on the proper allocation of scarce resources in a secular, pluralist state. The social insurance claim that society should pay for care for those in need is usually based on beneficence-directed justice. However, this claim is limited by moral as well as financial considerations, including the duty to respect individual choices and to recognize constraints on state authority. Transplantation is a particularly difficult case because it is a new and expensive technology and because of problems associated with assuring a sufficient supply of organs. Engelhardt concludes that it is within the rights of a free society to decide to give a low priority to transplantation and to invest instead in increasing the general level of health care. (KIE abstract)
Autonomy; Beneficence; Biomedical Technologies; Common Good; Consensus; Costs and Benefits; Decision Making; Financial Support; Freedom; Government; Health; Health Care; Hearts; Human Rights; Indigents; Insurance; Illness; Justice; Livers; Moral Obligations; Obligations of Society; Organ Donation; Organ Transplantation; Public Participation; Public Policy; Resource Allocation; Rights; Scarcity; Self Induced Illness; Standards; Technology; Tissue Transplantation; Transplantation;
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