There is room for only one person on the lifeboat, whom do you save? This thought experiment, referred to as the lifeboat scenario, is often used in bioethics as the starting point for arguments in favor of ageism. Predictably, most people choose to save the five year old.
I was surprised to encounter such grave objections to valuing life differently based on age in this weeks reading, as this is quite starkly in opposition to the prevailing thought in bioethics. In defense of ageism, philosopher John Harris popularized the notion of fair innings- that people over a certain age have enjoyed their life, and had a chance at a fair inning, whereas younger people have been denied this chance.
Perhaps weighting life at different ages to calculate DALYs is offensive if we look at it as a way to deny the productivity of older people. Yet, if we consider that health resources in this world, even in our own country, are limited, and that care must sometimes be mutually exclusive, then maybe we can argue not that life at later ages is in itself less valuable, but that life at younger ages is more valuable.
- The Unfortunate Misconception of ORT
- No one Wants to Drink Salt and Water – the Struggle to Raise ORT Momentum
- Marketing ORT
- Oral Rehydration Therapy and the Ebola outbreak
- Global Health Law and Access To New Medicine: Ebola, Money Distribution, and The World Bank
- Global Patent Law is an obstacle for the Developing World
- Let’s tap into the potential of the Human Rights Framework
- Is Disease Eradication Possible In The Age Of Patents?
- Polio Elimination in Uttar Pradesh – Individual impact in global health policy
- Polio, a disease of cultural and religious differences?: a look into polio in Nigeria