Ensuring Care, Respect, and Fairness for the Elderly
Childress, James F.
Hastings Center Report. 1984 Oct; 14(5): 27-31.
Discrimination against the elderly in the allocation of health care resources has been suggested to control medical expenditures. Using the example of Britain's unofficial age criterion for renal dialysis, which effectively prevents patients over 65 from receiving treatment, the author asks whether age discrimination is morally justifiable. He discusses health care for the aged in the contexts of the distribution of care throughout life and of a political-legal right to care. Childress argues that our cultural view of medicine has negative implications for the elderly in terms of resource allocation, and that our failure to acknowledge individual differences among the aged often results in paternalistic interventions. What is needed in discussions of health care for the elderly is a balancing of care and concern with respect for autonomy. (KIE abstract)
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