Chapter

Why undervaluing ‘statistical’ people costs lives

Tony Hope

in Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780192802828
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191775680 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780192802828.003.0003

Series: Very Short Introductions

Why undervaluing ‘statistical’ people costs lives

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‘Why undervaluing ‘statistical’ people costs lives’ considers the general question of how our limited health care resources should be distributed, which is one of the most important in medical ethics. The quality and quantity of thousands of people's lives will be affected by the answers that are given. With an exclusive focus on life-extending treatments, such as providing statins to patients with raised cholesterol levels and renal dialysis for patients with kidney failure, the distribution problem and ‘rule of rescue’ are discussed. It is argued that that the lesson we should learn from our empathy for those in need of rescue is to widen our moral imaginations.

Keywords: death; value of life; medical ethics; people; quality of life

Chapter.  4340 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioethics and Medical Ethics

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