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Reading Question

The most ethical way to allocate scarce health care resources is to determine the likelihood of success before an individual is accorded an organ or multiple organs. For example, Laura Davies is operated on and given five organs. The operation is funded by scores of private donors who come forward to assist her access these organs. She received these organs on 16th September 1993, but later died on 11th November. The possibility of success for Laura was low and very expensive since the operation cost half-million pounds. Furthermore, the multiple organs utilized were scarce and could have been more beneficial in saving patients who needed single organs with a higher chance of success in the end. Laura died with the organs denying others the organs. It is only ethical for doctors to consider the likelihood of success of organ transplants since they are scarce and need to be more effective in saving a life.

The least ethical way to allocate healthcare resources is allocation based on leadership roles that a person has in the society. For example, Governor Casey is reported to have been waiting for only a few days before getting a heart-liver transplant. In fact, he was taken to the topmost spot of the list skipping others. The doctors in the hospital explained that this had to be done since the governor needed multiple organs fast due to multiple organ failure. The fact is had it been an ordinary citizen, he/she would not have received the organs. Ethically, nobody should be better than the other when it comes to organ transplants, and everybody should have the same right to life notwithstanding his/her status in the society.

Discussion Question

Norman Daniels defines the challenge in allocation of medical resources as being scarce resources available for consumption by both old and young. He states categorically that the scarce resource, public funds for human services, is being scrambled for by the young and the old. Claims have been made that the old are benefiting more at the cost of children and younger workers. He states that Prudential allocation of resources should be undertaken so that everybody can have a fair share of scarce resources. Menzel also contributes to this debate by stating that there is a need to allocate limited resources to save more lives than allocate most of them to only save one life. Menzel talks about those who need multiple organs as simply denying those who need singular organs a chance to live. When a person receives five organs, and virtually dies, then he/she denies other five people a chance to live. Nicholas Rescher agrees that medical resources are indeed scarce and their needs to be a specific criteria that should be utilized in choosing recipients who will survive the operation and live healthily. By doing so , inadequate health resources are utilized efficiently.

Radcliffe has a varied opinion on scarce resources, supporting the idea of allowing kidney sales. Kidneys are unusual resources that are wanted by most people in the society. The demand for kidneys are high and cannot be met with limited supply. If there are personalities who are prepared to forego a kidney for monetary compensation, they should be allowed to do so. Banning the trade in effect makes the procedure riskier for the vendors. Kluge supports organ trade since there is a shortage that needs to be met. The ethics of informed consent should be taken into consideration to meet the shortage of organs that cannot meet unlimited wants.