Beyond Scarcity: Poverty as a Contraindication for Organ Transplantation

Virtual Mentor American Medical Association Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 9, No. 6, pp. 405-469, June 2007

Posted: 5 Jun 2007

See all articles by Mary Simmerling

Mary Simmerling

Adler University; Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College

Abstract

In almost every aspect of society, the resource-rich have an advantage over the resource-poor. The richer people are, the longer and healthier are their lives. The philosopher Norman Daniels has argued that social policies are responsible for the inequalities that produce health disparities and suggests that we must look upstream from the point of medical delivery when examining the fairness of the distribution of these goods. Daniels uses Rawls' theory of justice as fairness as the basis for his argument that health care is morally unique because it protects an individual's equality of opportunity:

The central moral importance, for purposes of justice, of preventing and treating disease and disability with effective health care services derives from the way in which protecting normal functioning contributes to protecting opportunity by keeping people close to normal functioning, health care preserves for people the ability to participate in the political, social and economic life of their society.

That is, by keeping people close to normal functioning, medicine also aims at the goal of protecting their equality of opportunity. In this policy forum, I consider the extent to which medicine has met this goal in the area of organ transplantation.

Keywords: organ transplantation, justice, fairness, goals of medicine

Suggested Citation

Simmerling, Mary, Beyond Scarcity: Poverty as a Contraindication for Organ Transplantation. Virtual Mentor American Medical Association Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 9, No. 6, pp. 405-469, June 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=991351

Mary Simmerling (Contact Author)

Adler University ( email )

17 N. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College ( email )

1300 York Avenue
New York, NY 10065
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://vivo.weill.cornell.edu/display/cwid-mcs2006

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
546
PlumX Metrics