Should Age Be a Criterion in Health Care
Hastings Center Report. 1984 Oct; 14(5): 24-27.
Siegler identifies the elderly as a population vulnerable to discrimination as society seeks to contain health care costs by rationing medical care. Traditional decision making by physicians and patients, which is based upon medical indications and the wishes of the patient, may yield to decision making based upon institutional and social expediency and economic concerns. Siegler predicts that as a consequence of cost containment measures, certain groups of patients, of whom the elderly constitute a large percentage, will find their access to medical care limited, and the extent of that care reduced. He suggests that this threat to the elderly can be counteracted by retaining the traditional physician patient relationship, by basing care decisions upon clinical criteria, and by beginnning rationing with those groups of patients best able to defend themselves. (KIE abstract)
Aged; Allowing to Die; Autonomy; Common Good; Containment; Costs and Benefits; Decision Making; Discrimination; Economics; Health; Health Care; Health Care Delivery; Indigents; Illness; Patients; Physician Patient Relationship; Physicians; Public Policy; Resource Allocation; Selection for Treatment; Self Induced Illness; Social Discrimination; Terminally Ill;