organ transplants. SHOULD not BE PRIORITISED ACCORDING TO. lifestyle factors. Doctor or Arbiter?. Equal Access. Each person should be considered of equal worth and given equal access to health care, regardless of variable need. FOR:
Doctor or Arbiter?
Utilitarianism: Judgments by the doctor may result in greater good for a greater
number of people.
Respect for Autonomy: Patient has a right to make decisions for themselves.
Deontology: The doctor’s duty is to treat patients, irrespective of the cause of illness.
Non-Maleficence: Refusing to treat a patient based on past lifestyle choices is doing harm.
Right to risky behaviour
There is a personal right to engage in risky behaviour and individuals should not be punished for their lifestyle choices.
Respect for autonomy: Patient has the right to make their own choices, even if they are harmful.
A transplant could do more good in a patient who does not undertake risky behaviour (5).
Universality: Lower priority due to poor lifestyle choices in unethical unless it is made consistent across all voluntary health risks - eg. Lower priority for injuries due to dangerous sport or occupation (4).
Who should receive the organ?
Strengths of this argument:
Society places a high value on individual freedom, and prioritisation of healthcare based on personal lifestyle choices is a direct contradiction of this.
Given that any life is likely to involve some health-risk --> where will we draw the line?
Thorough research has revealed strong arguments on both sides of this debate. We believe the arguments against the use of lifestyle factors in prioritisation of organ transplants are more strongly supported by a wide range of ethical principles. Deontology supports that it is not the doctor’s role to choose who lives and dies, but to treat each individual patient equally. Autonomy validates one’s choice to live and enjoy life’s risks, as well as a patient’s right to request treatment. To deny a patient treatment due to their lifestyle choices is not in the patient’s best interests and causes them harm, thus opposing the principals of beneficence and non-maleficence. We believe a system for prioritisation of organ transplants should based on other factors, such as the likelihood of benefit for the patient and the urgency of treatment.
Juliette Roex, Emma Lane, Kate Seagrim, Ned Young, Jaya Lindsay
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