Who Do We Treat First When Resources Are Scarce?
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2010
© Society for Applied Philosophy, 2010
Journal of Applied Philosophy
Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 200–211, May 2010
How to Cite
WALKER, T. (2010), Who Do We Treat First When Resources Are Scarce?. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 27: 200–211. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5930.2010.00486.x
- Issue published online: 14 MAY 2010
- Article first published online: 17 MAR 2010
In a health service with limited resources we must make decisions about who to treat first. In this paper I develop a version of the restoration argument according to which those whose need for resources is a consequence of their voluntary choices should receive lower priority when it comes to health care. I then consider three possible problems for this argument based on those that have been raised against other theories of this type: that we don't know in a particular case that the illness is self-inflicted, that it seems that all illness is self-inflicted in the sense used in my argument, and finally that this type of approach incorporates an unacceptable moralising element if it is to avoid giving those like fire-fighters a lower priority for treatment. I argue that the position outlined here has the resources to respond to each of these objections.